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PR and Med Ed news in brief

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

Asbestos cancer victims ignored

People suffering from a cancer caused by asbestos exposure are being neglected, campaigners say. Mesothelioma kills 1,800 people a year - more than cervical cancer - but there is no cure and treatment only relieves the symptoms. A British Lung Foundation conference is due to demand that ministers invest more money into research and improve access to compensation. The Department of Health said it was reviewing current treatment practices. People with mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, often die within a year or so of diagnosis.

Warning labels ìtoo slowî

Information on the serious side effects from drugs such as Merck's withdrawn Vioxx could be made available faster if regulators had the power to write the labels themselves. The Food and Drug Administration cannot require a company to add a specific warning on a drug label said a US drug official. The agency negotiates the wording with the manufacturer. Talks, such as when Merck and the FDA were crafting a warning about heart risks for Vioxx, can take a year. The warning was added to the Vioxx label in 2002, with Merck pulling Vioxx from the market in 2004.

ABPI launches paediatric guide

The ABPI has launched a paediatric trials guide in a move to ensure children benefit from medicines tailored to their needs. Current issues in paediatric trials, examines the problems and offers some solutions. It features presentations from NHS R&D director, Professor Sally Davies; Kedge Martin of patient group Wellchild; clinical trial ethicist, Dr Hugh Davies and Dr Julia Dunne of the MHRA. Copies of the publication can be obtained from ABPI Publications at a cost of £10. To order a copy email: or telephone 020 77471446.

Campaign exacerbates problems

The Government's anti-obesity campaign may be exacerbating the problem by making very young children overly conscious about their weight. According to a study, girls as young as five are unhappy with their bodies and want to be thinner. Most girls thought that being slim would make them more popular, claimed the research in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. They would also have no hesitation in dieting if they gained weight. The study was conducted among five-to eight-year-olds in South Australia, but experts said last night that British children felt ìparanoidî about their weight - partly because of the Government's anti-obesity message.

2nd September 2008


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