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Analysis and Comment (15)

Dung beetles love the Milky Way because they use it for navigation. No, seriously they do. Dung beetles love the Milky Way because they use it for navigation. No, seriously they do. mattvisser

Ig Nobels 2013: from attaching penises to stargazing beetles

This year’s Ig Nobel prizes were awarded on September 12 at a meeting of nerds at Harvard University. The prizes are given for genuine scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes…
Wait till you meet gut bacteria. Wait till you meet gut bacteria. epSos .de

Meddling gut bacteria get in the way of drug therapy

Bacteria in the human gut, which are present in the billions, can change the effect of medicine. This has been demonstrated for at least 40 drugs. But, until now, nobody knew exactly how. New research…
Drug companies invent hundreds of new molecules that they hope to turn into saleable medicines. Drug companies invent hundreds of new molecules that they hope to turn into saleable medicines. Keith Ramsey

Can’t pronounce the name of your medicine? Here’s why

Gone are the good old days when medicines had simple, easy to pronounce names such as aspirin, paracetamol and morphine. Nowadays pharmaceutical companies almost seem to revel in giving drugs names that…
Prescriptions for pain relief are easy to get in the UK but not if you live in certain countries. 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…
Medicine residues that we flush down the toilet can affect fish and other wildlife. Medicine residues that we flush down the toilet can affect fish and other wildlife. Chris Ison/PA

Popping pills can harm wildlife via a trip to the loo

It’s not a thought that occurs to most of us, but flushing the toilet doesn’t just mean disposing of our bodily waste. We’re also flushing away some of the medicine we take down with it. Our contraceptive…
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. 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…
Australia has almost no capacity to fill international medicine shortages. Australia has almost no capacity to fill international medicine shortages. artisrams

Cutting off Australia’s drug supply: why outsourcing isn’t the solution

The earthquake in the Northern Italian town of Medolla this May devastated the local community, killing 17 people and leaving 14,000 homeless. Because Medolla is the manufacturing epicentre of the Italian…
A Greens/EFA MEPs protest against ACTA at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The protestors urged their fellow members to join them in standing up for democracy and a free internet. A Greens/EFA MEPs protest against ACTA at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The protestors urged their fellow members to join them in standing up for democracy and a free internet. ©Photo European Union

Opening Pandora’s box: secret treaty threatens human rights

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) 2011 - Twitter hashtag #ACTA - is a controversial trade agreement designed to provide for stronger enforcement of intellectual property rights. There’s been…
There’s nothing worse than running out of paracetamol – and it’s much more serious in a hospital. There’s nothing worse than running out of paracetamol – and it’s much more serious in a hospital. Zokah

Why Australia’s medicine cabinet is almost bare

The risk we’ll fall short of essential medicines has increased dramatically over the past decade, largely due to policy shifts in patent regulation and a boom in pharmaceutical innovation that began in…
Repositioning a drug affords pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to enhance the return on their initial investment. Repositioning a drug affords pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to enhance the return on their initial investment. bitzi/flickr

Teaching old drugs new tricks: why companies reposition medicines

Many pharmaceutical companies are having to re-examine their product portfolio because of the difficult economic climate. New uses for established drugs affords a way for these companies to maximise financial…
It depends on the drug, how it’s been stored and whether the pack has been opened. It depends on the drug, how it’s been stored and whether the pack has been opened. saveas new

Explainer: do we need to follow medication use-by dates?

It’s late in the night. And after a long day at work, you have a splitting headache. You rattle around in the bottom drawer of the bathroom vanity to find a packet of paracetamol tablets you know are hiding…
The outcome of the negotiations will have far-reaching consequences for access to medicines in participating countries. The outcome of the negotiations will have far-reaching consequences for access to medicines in participating countries. uncensored.co.nz

Trade talks set to undermine access to medicines for the world’s poor

Trade negotiations currently being conducted behind closed doors could see a major setback to providing access to essential medicines for the world’s poorest people. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement…
Decisions about listing medicines on the PBS can’t be ad hoc. Decisions about listing medicines on the PBS can’t be ad hoc.

Deciding what medicines to fund shouldn’t be a private affair

The fanfare around Health Minister Nicola Roxon’s announcement yesterday that the government would fund 13 new medicines on the PBS is a reminder of the power and influence involved in the selection and…
Pharmacists should be able to prescribe and dispense some medicines. Pharmacists should be able to prescribe and dispense some medicines. AAP

Pharmacists under-prescribed in sickly health system

“When people get sick or injured or want advice about their health, they want to see a doctor,” Dr Andrew Pesce, AMA President. When people feel sick, have a rash or need advice about an ailment, pharmacists…

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