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PR and Med Ed news in brief

Our weekly round-up of PR and medical education stories.

Kellogg's plays ball

Kellogg's bowed to pressure from health campaigners yesterday and cut the levels of salt in its Corn Flakes by 25 per cent. The change, which also applies to Frosties and Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, is one of the biggest recipe changes in the company's 80-year history. They will be available this week. The move follows calls from the Government and health campaigners for less salt and sugar in processed food. Kellogg's has already launched a lower sugar version of Frosties and introduced bar charts revealing the levels of salt, sugar and fat on the front of its cereal packs.

Counterfeit drugs continue

Few warnings are available to help consumers spot counterfeit drugs says a recent investigation. The news comes after it was found that pharmaceutical companies in Britain are covering up the discovery of fake versions of their products and contributing to thousands of deaths across the world. Fake versions of antibiotics, antimalarials and lifestyle drugs such as slimming and sex aids are flooding the market in some countries but manufacturers of the genuine medicines are reluctant to publicise the problem for fear of harming sales of their branded products, doctors say.

Hospitals ignore health ratings

Health ratings are being ignored by hospitals say senior officials. Star ratings are being replaced this year by a new health check which will require NHS trusts to produce yearly self-assessments. However the Healthcare Commission said the ratings were still relevant. The last star-ratings will be published during the summer, but experts have said they will not be taken seriously because of the changes. Star ratings, only introduced in 2001, have been overhauled after complaints they were too onerous and target-driven. The health check reduces the red-tape by asking trusts to produce self-evaluations, with comments from patient groups and councils.

Greens push for funding

The Greens and the European Free Alliance are urging the Commission to fund research into alternative medicine in the next framework programme. The group released a statement criticising the official disregard in Europe for homoeopathy, and called for political action to stop the 'discrimination against alternative medicine in Europe'. The group argued that homoeopathy has proved its safety and efficacy over more than two centuries and makes a significant contribution to safeguarding public health. They added that European and national legislation restricts the access and availability of the medicines through exaggerated safety standards.

2nd September 2008


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