Articles on Pharmaceuticals

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Some drug manufacturing in India is global best practice. Other production is both shoddy and dangerous. Shutterstock

Regulator silent on safety of Indian-made generic drugs

Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs whose patent has expired, allowing consumers (and governments) to buy a replica drug at a fraction of the price. But a recent US investigation has found consumers…
Cancer targets young and old. National Cancer Institute

EU loophole means children with cancer are denied drugs

In spite of a major drive to develop targeted drugs to “personalise” cancer treatments, children with cancer still have to put up with drugs that have remained largely unchanged for decades. Currently…
No antibiotic resistant bacteria please - in your pork, beef, chicken, or throat. Dr Graham Beards

Charge fees for farm antibiotics to slow the spread of superbugs

The development of resistant bacteria over the past 50 years stands testament to the power of evolution. While scientists have discovered or created hundreds of antibiotics to kill bacteria, those bacteria…
It’s not all about the money but universities could drive a harder bargain. Victor1558

Universities are research power houses but fail to reap rewards

In the pharmaceutical industry there is a place known as the Valley of Death. It is the place between research and innovation where many drugs enter but fail to emerge from the other side. One reason for…
Amgen has found itself at the centre of the Australian body politic. AAP/Paul Jeffers

Amgen and Abbott: who’s that on the PM’s cycling kit?

You may have noticed our Prime Minister Tony Abbott riding around in cycling kit with the Amgen logo across his chest, back and legs. Amgen is the principal sponsor of an Australian fundraising cycling…
Prescriptions for pain relief are easy to get in the UK but not if you live in certain countries. PA/Julien Behal

Pain-relief access crisis leaves millions suffering around globe

Ten percent of the world consumes 90% of the morphine. At first glance that’s just another statistic about haves and have nots. But it’s more stark than that - particularly if you have cancer in a country…
The biggest and fastest-growing spending category in health is hospitals. Image from shutterstock.com

Tough choices: how to rein in Australia’s rising health bill

With health costs rising and costly medical innovations on the horizon, it’s crunch time for health funding. In the lead up to the May budget, The Conversation’s experts will explore the options for reining…
Novartis sought to charge A$26,000 a year for its anti-cancer drug, compared with A$2,000 per year for a generic copy. ChrisGoldNY

India’s Novartis patent ruling puts health before profits

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis this week lost a seven-year legal battle over a drug patent in India. It’s certainly a win for those in India who use the drug, and for patients in India more generally…
There’s no reason the Australian taxpayer should pay such high prices for medicines when our overseas cousins don’t. Image from shutterstock.com

Fixing Australia’s bad drug deal could save $1.3 billion a year

The Commonwealth could save A$1.3 billion each year by reforming the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), according to a report released today by the Grattan Institute. The report, Australia’s bad drug…
Ben Goldacre spreading the news at the Free University of Glastonbury, June 2011. Neil Melville-Kenney

Peer review: Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a poll in late-October 2012 asking, “Who is mainly at fault for denying access to negative clinical trial results?” Respondents were able to choose from a list…
Recent surveys show many Australians have not filled a prescription because of cost. Robert S. Donovan

Why automating the PBS safety net will be good for everyone

A growing number of people globally live with chronic illness. By the time they reach 65, most Australians have at least one chronic condition and 80% have three or more. Pharmaceutical treatment is often…
Sleeping pills aren’t the answer to sleep on demand. Drake Guan

Explainer: insomnia, pills and the pursuit of sleep

Insomnia is far from a modern concept, with sleep remedies such as opioids, chamomile and valerian root recorded in the earliest existing medical writings. The word insomnia itself dates back to at least…
Two weight-loss drugs are currently available in Australia, with another two recently approved by the American FDA. HeavyWeightGeek

Step forward for new weight-loss drug

A new compound that leads to weight loss in obese mice could help in the development of a new class of anti-obesity drugs…

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