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Pharma, the NHS and our learned friends
The pharma industry taking the NHS to court over drugs pricing is never going to be a good look, but that is what’s happening as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry seeks a judicial review into the legality of NICE’s new £20m budget impact test.
Rob Munro

How will NICE’s budget impact test affect new drug availability?
NICE’s budget impact test – in which new drugs that will have a net impact of £20 million or more in any one of their first three years of use will trigger commercial negotiations between NHS England and the drug company – was introduced in April, amid much controversy. Many argue the threshold is too low and will have an unacceptable impact on the availability of new medicines.
Joy Ogden

Administering steroids with HIV treatment-boosting agents
(click here for the full web article)
Co-administration of a steroid with an HIV treatment-boosting agent such as ritonavir or cobicistat increases the risk of iatrogenic Cushing syndrome and subsequent secondary adrenal suppression. This article discusses the strategies to help prevent this and describes how to identify and manage such interactions.
Gurmit Kaur Jagjit Singh, Rachael Jones and Kevin Shotliff

Efficacy and side-effects of oral contraceptives
(click here for the full web article)

For the majority of women, oral contraception is safe, convenient and effective, but users should be counselled about potential adverse effects and the importance of good adherence. This review discusses the efficacy, advantages and disadvantages of both combined and progestogen-only oral contraceptives.
Anne MacGregor

Brexit means Brexit, but what of pharmacovigilance?
While uncertainty remains over exactly how the UK’s exit from the European Union will pan out, there is little doubt that there will be disruption, at least in the short term, for the pharmaceutical industry. Issues surrounding the potential implications of Brexit for the medicines regulatory system, and for pharmacovigilance in particular, were discussed at a recent meeting in London, organised by the Drug Safety Research Unit. Steve Titmarsh reports.
Steve Titmarsh

Tofacitinib: a janus kinase inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis
Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) is an oral janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor indicated for the second-line treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adults. This article discusses its properties, efficacy and adverse effects.
Steve Chaplin

Diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis in the over-16s
In February, NICE published its first clinical guideline on spondyloarthritis in adults (NG65). This article provides a short summary of the guidance.
Steve Chaplin

Will the UK face an opioid abuse epidemic?
(click here for the full web article)

Prescription drug abuse, in particular opioid abuse, has reached epidemic proportions in the USA. While the situation in the UK is currently less clear cut, increasing awareness among health professionals and greater investment in services may help to avoid a similar public health crisis in the future.
Mark Greener

Prescription for disaster
Prescribing was fraught with pitfalls back when doctors had to handwrite scrips, recalls Dr Delvin.
David Delvin

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