Maternal smoking cholesterol link
CHILDREN whose mothers smoke while pregnant face a greater risk of a heart attack or stroke when they grow up, the Herald Sun reports. The Australian research, published in European Heart Journal, found that by 8 years of age, children born to smokers had HDL cholesterol levels of about 1.3 mmol/L, compared with 1.5 mmol/L in children with non-smoking mothers.

FDA warns CSL
THE US Food and Drug Administration has issued a stern warning to CSL Limited and threatened to withdraw its license if the Australian company does not address several concerns about its manufacturing practices, ABC News reports. The warning comes after hundreds of Australian children aged under 5 years had severe reactions to last year’s flu vaccine, prompting CSL to withdraw the vaccine for use on children. The FDA says CSL’s investigation into the adverse reactions is not good enough.

New PBS medicines
HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has announced government subsidies for 13 medicines, including the $1500-a-week bowel cancer drug Erbitux, The Australian reports. However, the government did not fund six medicines recommended for funding under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Drugs that will receive a subsidy include: Diflucan (fluconazole) for fungal infections; Fragmin (dalteparin) for blood clots and Ferro-tab (ferrous fumarate) for anaemia.

SensaSlim class action
DIET spray company SensaSlim is facing a $4.2 million class action from more than 70 people who say they were duped into buying a franchise to sell the herbal product, The Age reports. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has also won a Federal Court order to freeze SensaSlim’s assets based on allegations it misled consumers. Seven people have complained about SensaSlim to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, including public health specialist Dr Ken Harvey, whose complaint prompted the company to launch a defamation case against him.

Indigenous health spend up
INDIGENOUS Australians use $2000 more in health services than non-Indigenous Australians each year and are more likely to use public hospitals but less likely to get Medicare payments, The Australian reports. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report shows health spending averaged $6787 for Indigenous Australians in 2008-09 compared with $4876 for non-Indigenous Australians. More than twice as much is spent providing public hospital care to Indigenous Australians — $3353 a year compared with $1491 spent on non-Indigenous Australians. But Indigenous Australians used only a little more than half the value of Medicare services and spent less than half as much on medications.

New anticlotting drug
A PROPOSED new anticlotting drug for atrial fibrillation, apixaban, has been shown to prevent more strokes with less bleeding risk than warfarin, the drug makers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer have announced, the New York Times reports. “This is great news for patients and doctors”, said Dr Christopher Cannon, a leading cardiologist who was not involved in the research. “It shows the new class of anticoagulants works better than the only thing we’ve had available for 50 years.” However, the results are tentative. Apixaban has not yet been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval, nor have the full study results been released.

Posted 27 June 2011

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