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Food can prevent certain medicines being absorbed into the bloodstream. Bertalan Szürös/Flickr

Explainer: why must some medications be taken with food?

Have you ever been advised to take a medicine with food? How about taking a medicine with cola or avoiding grapefruit? Hundreds of medicines have food-related dosing instructions. With four out of five…
Pills ok during pregnancy? We can’t know if we don’t study them. Medications image via www.shutterstock.com

Pregnant women must be studied too

Imagine being pregnant while having a chronic health condition such as diabetes, hypertension, depression or asthma, or being diagnosed with an illness while pregnant. Amazingly, your doctor may not know…
What if an experimental treatment seems to hold a terminal patient’s only hope? Pill bottle image via www.shutterstock.com

‘Right to try’ laws are compassionate, but misguided

On November 4, the state of Arizona will decide whether to join Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana and Michigan in passing so-called right to try laws. If passed, the “Arizona Terminal Patients’ Right To Try…
Central to the processes of the PBS is the idea that drugs with identical or similar clinical outcomes should have similar prices. Thinglass/Shutterstock

How the US trade deal undermined Australia’s PBS

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Reduced access to generics drugs has contributed to the 80% rise in the cost of Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

It’s time to fix the free trade bungle on the cost of medicines

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
It’s not yet clear how the Coalition will weigh health issues against economic priorities. jdwfoto/Shutterstock

Coalition’s policy bodes ill for health in free trade negotiations

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Drug reps form a huge part of the industry’s marketing strategy. Alexander Raths/Shutterstock

Why I don’t see drug reps – a GP’s take on Big Pharma spruiking

Here’s what I remember. It was 14 years ago, and I was a junior doctor working in psychiatry. Some colleagues planned a dinner as an end-of-term celebration and, despite reasonable incomes, they decided…
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…

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