Managing director at Synergy Vision scores top awards at Stevie Awards ceremony

by Admin 18. November 2014 16:19

The managing director of leading medical communication’s agency, Synergy Vision, reigned supreme at the 11th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, scoring two top awards at the event.

 

Ffyona Dawber, MD, received Gold in the category of ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year’ and Silver in the ‘Woman of the Year’ category at the New York awards ceremony last week, beating 10 others for the top spot on the night.

 

Ffyona, who hails from a background working as a clinical specialist in the pharmaceutical industry, founded Synergy Vision in 2007, which has grown from 25 projects to 350 in just seven years. The company was a result of Ffyona’s quest to develop a specialist medical communications agency that focused on the requirements of pharmaceutical companies.

 

The organization has gone from strength to strength since its development, combining pharma and agency experience, to build strong relationships with clients.

 

Of her win, Ffyona says, “since I set up Synergy Vision, the company and client base has grown but the vision of delivering high quality medical communications has remained the same. It is wonderful to be recognised for all the hard work, thank you.”

 

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honours for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run from all over the world.

 

More information can be found at www.StevieAwards.com/Women

One in ten GP practices under ‘intelligent monitoring’ risk

by Admin 18. November 2014 12:39

Findings gathered by a Care Quality Commission report has revealed that one in 10 GP practices have been assigned the highest category of risk in an ‘intelligent monitoring’ system.

The report showed that one in 10 GP practices posed the greatest perceived risk in an intelligent monitoring system devised by the Care Quality Commission.

The report used 38 different indicators to determine the perceived risk of each practice in England, with each practice assigned one of six risk ratings with one representing the “greatest perceived risk” and six the lowest.

The 900 practices categorised as band one will be first in the queue for inspections next year, the CQC has said.

The report also showed that there was also considerable regional variation in the proportion of practices falling into the lower bands.  At least four in five practices fell into the four lowest bands.

Only 4 per cent of practices in the North East were rated as band one or two, while 20 per cent of London GP practices fell in these rankings.

One of the main reasons cited for practices being pushed into the lower bands is the difficult of access to their GP or practice nurse. 

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General | News | NHS

Oxfordshire’s better care fund plan gets rejected by NHS England

by Admin 17. November 2014 13:38

Oxfordshire commissioners have failed to submit a realistic better care fund plan to NHS England who rejected their proposal on the grounds of its incomprehensibility.

The proposal, which was submitted in September failed to meet NHS England’s assurance process for the programme.

The county’s better care fund plan was one of just five across England which was not approved last month. Other plans not approved were from Essex, Lancashire, Hillingdon, and Northamptonshire ccgs.

In a statement, the Oxfordshire CCG and the county council citied a number of reasons why the proposal was rejected, including, "our new focus on commissioning health and social care services via outcomes based commissioning, the timescale for which crossed over with those for the submission of initial better care fund proposals.”

The organization also said that the plan did not meet national requirements, which expects, “emergency hospitals admissions to be reduced", despite hospital admissions rising locally and nationally.

The statement concluded, “The clinical commissioning group and the county council are working hard with Oxford University Hospitals Trust and Oxford Health Foundation Trust to address the challenges and issues regarding the implementation of the better care fund principles.”

The CCG has already spent the past year redesigning its proposals to introduce integrated outcomes based contracts for adult mental health and older people’s services.

The ambitions scheme attracted controversy a year ago when both local trusts publically expressed serious concerns over its potential impact. 

Funding award for pioneering UK asthma research

by Admin 17. November 2014 12:13

Dr. Andrew Wilson from the University of East Anglia has been awarded £1.7million in funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for research into reducing deaths from asthma.

The money will enable the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research to identify people most at risk of an asthma attack in order to reduce the high number of avoidable asthma deaths.

The research comes at a critical time, following the publication in May of the National Review of Asthma Deaths by the Royal College of Physicians, The review identified that as many as two thirds of the three deaths caused by asthma every day in the UK could have been avoided.

In many cases the warning signs were ignored and more than two thirds of people hospitalised in the month before they died did not get properly checked up afterwards. 

Past asthma attacks are a clear risk factor for future attacks and everyone who is hospitalised due to their asthma should see their GP within 48 hours of leaving hospital. However, Asthma UK’s Compare Your Care report 2013 discovered that three quarters (74%) of people with asthma did not have a follow up appointment.

Dr. Wilson’s research will examine whether introducing a register of people at risk of an attack and trainig medical staff to provide these patients with ongoing specialist support will reduce their likelihood of being hospitalised by asthma or suffering a potentially life threatening asthma attack.

The research is a key part of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, a collaborative partnership of 13 of the UK’s leading academic organisations. This work includes halving the time that it takes to develop new asthma medicines and treatments through clinical trials to lead directly to improved care. 

Dr. Wilson, based at the University of East Anglia, says: “Identifying and targeting care to patients most at risk of asthma attacks and developing methods to deal with the variable standard of care in the UK are important national treatment strategies.”

Life sciences honours for top researchers

by Admin 17. November 2014 10:21

Four internationally renowned life sciences researchers have been honoured at the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Awards for work carried out in two major fields concerning world health: neglected tropical diseases and immunology.

The annual Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Awards honour influential work in the field of life sciences.

Dr Nadine Laguette received an accolade for her work in examining the role of the SAMHD1 protein in infections caused by HIV. Dr Priscille Brodin was recognised for her research on tuberculosis and Buruli ulcers.

Professor Jean-Laurent Casanova was honoured for his research on genetics and infectious diseases. Professor Etienne Pays was also awarded for creating new insights into trypanosomal diseases.

Elias Zerhouni, president, global research and development of Sanofi, said: "We are showing our commitment and our support for research and discoveries which will one day be able to prevent diseases or provide better treatments against diseases for those who need them."

 

AstraZeneca debuts development programme for BRILINTA®

by Admin 17. November 2014 10:00

AstraZeneca has begun a pre-clinical development programme to evaluate the ability of investigational antibody, MEDI2452, to rapidly and specifically reverse the antiplatelet effects of ticagrelor (BRILINTA®) in rare emergency situations.

MEDI2452 is being developed by MedImmune, AstraZeneca's biologics research and development arm. 

Marc Ditmarsch, Global Development Lead for BRILINTA, said: "In certain emergencies, doctors need to have the option to swiftly reverse the effects of oral antiplatelet agents, in order to enable emergency surgery or a quick response to a major bleeding event without having to wait for the effects of the medicine to wear off. Currently there are no FDA approved medications to counteract the antiplatelet effect in these situations.

"If the circumstances demand it, we believe MEDI2452 has the potential to help address this need for patients treated with BRILINTA."

The development of MEDI2452 sits alongside the wider PARTHENON clinical programme for BRILINTA, which includes five registration studies involving around 80,000 patients across the broad spectrum of atherothrombotic disease. 

PEGASUS-TIMI 54 aims to assess the efficacy and safety of ticagrelor (twice daily compared to placebo on a background of low-dose aspirin), for the long-term prevention of atherothrombotic events in patients, aged 50 and older, who suffered a heart attack one to three years prior to study enrolment, and who have one additional cardiovascular risk factor.

The study, involving over 21,000 patients, will be the next one within the programme to complete, with top line results expected in the first quarter of 2015. 

"Current guidelines generally recommend 12 months of dual antiplatelet therapy following an acute coronary syndrome event, however atherothrombotic disease is a chronic, progressive and in some cases fatal condition," Mr Ditmarsch said. 

"The PEGASUS trial will help us evaluate the potential long-term benefit of therapy with ticagrelor for the chronic condition. This will be important information for patients with a history of myocardial infarction and their physicians, to determine the management of their condition following a heart attack beyond 12 months."

 

 

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Drugs | News

Experimental Ebola drug trials to begin in west Africa

by Admin 13. November 2014 10:19

Three trials of experimental Ebola drugs will begin next month at treatment centres run by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in west Africa.

Volunteer doctors will conduct the trials, which are unprecedented because they are being run during an epidemic. In addition, the drugs will not have been through the conventional clinical trials process before being given to people who are sick and will not compare one group of people receiving the drug with another group of people who do not.

This unconventional and speedy approach has been adopted in the hope that the drugs will cut the 70% death rate in west Africa from the disease.

MSF and its partners, including academics, pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organisation, have agreed to run two trials in Guinea. One of these trials will investigate the use of blood products from people who have survived Ebola. Oxford University scientists will lead a third trial, funded by the Wellcome Trust.  

Zmapp, the drug given to some of the foreign health workers who were infected earlier in the epidemic, is not among those being trialled at this stage due to the amount of time that it takes to produce.

Oxford University scientists will test the antiviral drug brincidofovir in pill form on up to 140 patients. 

The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) will lead a trial in Guéckédou, Guinea investigating a second antiviral drug, favipiravir. 

The third trial will take place in Conakry, Guinea, and will look at the effect of giving patients blood and plasma containing antibodies from people who have recovered from the disease. It will be led by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM).

Dr Annick Antierens of MSF said: “This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment against a disease that today kills between 50 and 80% of those infected.

“As one of the principal providers of medical care to Ebola patients in West Africa, MSF is taking part in these accelerated clinical trials to give people affected by the current outbreak a better chance of survival.”

 

Experimental Ebola drug trials to begin in west Africa

by Admin 13. November 2014 10:19

Three trials of experimental Ebola drugs will begin next month at treatment centres run by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in west Africa.

Volunteer doctors will conduct the trials, which are unprecedented because they are being run during an epidemic. In addition, the drugs will not have been through the conventional clinical trials process before being given to people who are sick and will not compare one group of people receiving the drug with another group of people who do not.

This unconventional and speedy approach has been adopted in the hope that the drugs will cut the 70% death rate in west Africa from the disease.

MSF and its partners, including academics, pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organisation, have agreed to run two trials in Guinea. One of these trials will investigate the use of blood products from people who have survived Ebola. Oxford University scientists will lead a third trial, funded by the Wellcome Trust.  

Zmapp, the drug given to some of the foreign health workers who were infected earlier in the epidemic, is not among those being trialled at this stage due to the amount of time that it takes to produce.

Oxford University scientists will test the antiviral drug brincidofovir in pill form on up to 140 patients. 

The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) will lead a trial in Guéckédou, Guinea investigating a second antiviral drug, favipiravir. 

The third trial will take place in Conakry, Guinea, and will look at the effect of giving patients blood and plasma containing antibodies from people who have recovered from the disease. It will be led by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM).

Dr Annick Antierens of MSF said: “This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment against a disease that today kills between 50 and 80% of those infected.

“As one of the principal providers of medical care to Ebola patients in West Africa, MSF is taking part in these accelerated clinical trials to give people affected by the current outbreak a better chance of survival.”

 

AstraZeneca gets expanded Scottish approval for diabetes drug

by Admin 13. November 2014 10:14

AstraZeneca has announced that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has issued advice accepting its diabetes drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) in an expanded indication for NHS Scotland usage.

It marks the first time the SMC has accepted a DPP-4 inhibitor therapy in this combination with insulin for use by NHS Scotland, providing patients with a wider choice of potential therapy options.

The DPP-4 inhibitor can now be utilised as a combination therapy with insulin for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes. It can be prescribed with insulin with or without metformin when this regimen alone, with diet and exercise, does not provide adequate glycaemic control.

Around 221,500 people in Scotland are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Approximately 16,800 new cases are diagnosed each year, while a further 43,000 remain undiagnosed. 

Lisa Anson, president of AstraZeneca in the UK and Ireland, said: "Saxagliptin is an important asset in our diabetes portfolio and, as with all our medicines, we work hard to ensure that as many appropriate patients as possible have access to it."

 

 

Patients unaware of GP out-of-hours facilities

by Admin 12. November 2014 16:26

A report by the Public Accounts Committee has revealed that people do not know where to turn to when GP practices are closed amid ‘unacceptable’ variations in the quality of out-of-hours services.

The report has shown that “complex and fragmented” systems mean patients are left confused about where to get help, resulting in higher numbers of Accident and Emergency cases.

Health officials have been accused of failing to provide the basic information necessary to guide patients to an appropriate to their need of care.

Despite the number of services available, including out-of-hours services, walk-in centres, urgent care centres, or the NHS’s 11 service, patients are still not clear on what service would be appropriate for their illness.

The report has accused NHS England of lacking the basic information necessary to say if there will be enough GPs in the future to deal with the growing workload expected.

The Committee’s Chairman, Margaret Hodge, said, “Patients’ experience of, and satisfaction with, the out-of-hours services varies significantly and unacceptably across the country, as does the cost.”

She said too many people were unaware of the different urgent care options and how to contact them.

“This means people may not receive care in the most appropriate setting. As a result of the confusion, too may go to A&E when they do not need to.”

The report also found that one third of adults in England had not heard of NHS 111 or do not know what it is for.

One quarter had not heard of out-of-hours GP services, with a lower awareness among certain groups including younger people and people from black and minority ethnic communities. 

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