Healthcare News Round-Up (Issue 98)

April 08, 2008


Tackling tuberculosis

Businesses must do more to combat the spread of tuberculosis (TB) globally according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. Tackling Tuberculosis: The Business Response, published in February by the WEF’s Global Health Initiative, looks at the threat posed by the disease to the private sector as well as society and how companies can address this issue.

Some of the points made with regard to business include:

> Recognise that TB is a workplace issue
> Raise awareness
> Ensure non-discrimination
> Respect confidentiality
> Monitor and report programme results
> Link workplace HIV programmes to TB programmes

It includes case studies from companies such as AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields and De Beers Consolidated Mines as well as businesses not in the extractives sector such as Heineken, Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca.

Contact World Economic Forum 0041 22 869 1212

Drug companies should be more responsible

Pharmaceutical companies must report adverse data regarding the safety of drugs sooner according to the UK’s drugs regulatory body the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This follows on from a four-year investigation by the MHRA into GlaxoSmithKline and its anti-depressant drug, Seroxat. The investigation focused on whether GSK had failed to inform the MHRA that Seroxat in under-18s could increase the risk of suicide.

The MHRA announced on March 6 that the case would not lead to criminal prosecution as “legislation in force at the time was not sufficiently strong or comprehensive as to require companies to inform the regulator of safety information”. However, Professor Kent Woods, chief executive of the agency, stated that the organisation will take “immediate steps to ensure the law is strengthened further, so that there can be no doubt as to companies’ obligations to report safety issues”.

Contact MHRA 020 7084 2000