Sibutramine sales stopped
SIBUTRAMINE has been banned from sale after a study showed it could cause a heart attack or stroke, according to a report in the Sun Herald. Pharmaceutical company Abbott announced it would stop distributing sibutramine, sold as Reductil in Australia since 2001, following a ruling by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The ban follows the release of data from the 6-year 10 000-patient SCOUT (Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcome Trial), which found a higher risk of an adverse outcome in people taking the drug compared to those taking placebo.

Abortion laws on trial
THE Queensland government has denied flaws in the state’s criminal code which only offers legal protection for surgical abortions, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Women rallied across Australia at the weekend in support of a young Queensland couple facing trial over procuring a home abortion using the drug RU486 They face court in Cairns this week.

President predicts doctor crisis
THE new president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Professor Claire Jackson, says Australia is facing its worst GP shortage since World War II, according to an ABC report. Speaking at the GP10 conference in Cairns, Professor Jackson, a professor of general practice at the University of Queensland, says the college is focusing on training more GPs to tackle the crisis.

ADHD linked to passive smoking
CHILDREN exposed to tobacco smoke in their homes suffer higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stuttering, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. It said new US-based research, presented at the Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health in Sydney last week, found children with exposure to tobacco smoke had roughly double the rate of ADHD and stuttering and reported higher rates of headaches when compared to children from non-smoking families.

Company takes doctors to court
THE company that manages Primary Health Care, Idameneo, is involved in dozens of court cases claiming damages or seeking injunctions against doctors in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald. In the NSW Supreme Court, Idameneo has taken 40 individuals or companies to court since 2002.

Teens more sexually active
A SURVEY of more than 8800 students has shown a marked increase in the number of sexually active students, as well as higher rates of multiple partners over an 11-year period to 2008, The Age reports. Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, the survey found that between 1997 and 2008, the proportion of students having sex with three or more partners had increased from 16% to 30%.

Young men like takeaway food
A QUEENSLAND survey shows young men and those with the least education eat the most takeaway food, according to a report in the Brisbane Times. Queensland University of Technology researcher Dr Kyoko Miura surveyed 903 Queenslanders aged 25–64 and found 40% consumed takeaway meals at least once a week. Sixty per cent of young men aged 25–29 bought pre-made food regularly.

First win for US health insurance law
A MICHIGAN court is the first to dismiss one of more than 15 legal challenges to the new United States health care law, according to a report in the New York Times. The challenges relate to whether the Constitution gives Congress the authority to require citizens to obtain health insurance. From 2014, most Americans must obtain health insurance, with insurers prohibited from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Drug sales tipped to rise
REVENUE from global prescription drug sales is expected to increase 5%–7% next year to at least $880 billion, according to a report in the Washington Post. Figures from drug data firm IMS said the sales would result from new drugs and rising sales in developing countries.

Call for hospital safety audits
THE Australian Medical Association has called for Victorian public hospitals to face spot checks to assess whether excessive working hours are putting doctors at risk, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. It is calling for the state government to commit to hospital safety audits ahead of the November state election.

Posted 11 October 2010

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