A pill a day… or maybe a yoghurt

Daily digest It seems there's a pill for everything these days, writes Niall Hunt , but are they always necessary?

It seems there's a pill for everything these days and two more are on their way.

The first is a £1.40 a day pill that can save the lives of thousands of heart failure patients. The pill, ivabradine, has won the approval of European regulators, the Telegraph reports. The Daily Mail writes that the pill cut deaths by up to 39 per cent in trials. The Guardian also covers this story. The second pill has been developed to help alcoholics drink less. The Telegraph reports on the drug's development, which works by blocking the mechanisms in the brain that give alcoholics enjoyment from drink. And a breakthrough in rheumatoid arthritis could pave the way for new ways of treating the disease, the Independent writes. Also covered by the Daily Mail, the research involves the development of a drug that stops destructive white blood cells migrating to joints where they cause damage. But for every pill there is an alternative. The Telegraph reports that a yoghurt might stop a heart attack, for instance, as researchers find more links between our health and the flora in our guts. And tens of thousands of children might be having immaturity misdiagnosed as ADHD, the Telegraph reports. The BBC and Independent report that thousands die needlessly from cancer every year because they are too scared to mention early symptoms to doctors. And one of the NHS's worst performing contractors, Computer Sciences Corporation, could retain some of its health contracts, the Guardian reports. The Telegraph uses the headline "NHS database fiasco firm keeps IT deal". In pharmacy news, pharmacist consultant Neil Scobie has joined the Alphega Pharmacy team, replacing Rachel Marchant. Mr Scobie will be responsible for developing and delivering training for pharmacy services products that support current and future pharmacy contract requirements in the UK. And Nice has announced the appointment of two directors. Professor Mark Baker becomes director of the Centre for Clinical Practice and Alexia Tonnel will be the director of Evidence Resources. Both will join NICE's senior management team. The appointments follow the departure of Professor Peter Littlejohns to take up an academic post and the retirement of Dr Fergus Macbeth. In Scotland, David Torrance, SNP MSP for Kirkcaldy, visited St Clair Pharmacy in Kirkcaldy. He met with pharmacy owner Arvinder Bilon and his team to gain an insight into the workings of a modern community pharmacy within his constituency. And finally, DermaSilk, a line of therapeutic clothing, was mistakenly missed out of the Drug Tariff index for three months from January until March 2012, although it remained listed in the main body of the tariff during this time. It will be reinstated in the April Drug Tariff. "This was a very minor error that occurred as the result of the product name being moved in Drug Tariff," explained a spokesman for NHS Business Services Authority, who said there will be no impact on processing and reimbursement will not be affected. "The index is automatically generated and the index entry appears to have inadvertently removed itself also. A full check will be made on all index entry amendments in future to prevent a reoccurrence. The omission was picked up by the supplier and they asked us to communicate the issue."  

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