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Andrew Lansley, Monday morning blues and Colombian Marching Powder

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Monday 5 March.

It is another Monday morning where the health secretary, or as he is becoming known ‘beleaguered health secretary Andrew Lansley', might not want to accompany his Coco Pops with a read of the morning papers.

The Independent reports that Prime Minister David Cameron is set to overrule cabinet ministers, including Mr Lansley, by backing plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, while The Telegraph covers a warning from the Public Health for the NHS Network that public health programmes could be ‘devastated' by the Government's shake-up of the NHS.

As the health secretary gears up for a two-day hearing starting today at the Information Rights Tribunal on his refusal to publish the DH's risk registerof the NHS reforms, an analysis of local risk registers by The Guardian reveals that the NHS reforms ‘could increase the dangers facing vulnerable children.' The paper also reveals fears from GP leaders that the head of the NHS's competition watchdog ‘cannot have any credibility' after it emerged that he also runs one of the UK's biggest healthcare companies.

The Guardian reports that Lord Carter's dual roles as chairman of the Co-operation and Competition Panel for the NHS and UK head of US-owned healthcare firm McKesson has triggered concerns from leading GPs.

Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP chair, told the paper: ‘He cannot have any credibility when he is also heading a company with such huge interests in the very contracts his organisation is meant to police.'

‘GPs are being minutely scrutinised for possible conflicts of interest. But if we are going to have transparency it has to apply throughout the whole system.' The DH dismissed the concerns and said it had ‘every confidence' in the CCP.

Following last week's controversy over metal-on-metal hip joints, The Telegraph reports that the British Hip Society are calling for patients to no longer be given the implants due to evidence linking them to cancer, poisoning and pain. The Telegraph also reports on research that Vitamin E supplements could cause thinning of the bones. ‘Early findings indicate that the most common form of Vitamin E stimulates the generation of bone-degrading cells,' the Telegraph states.

Finally it's bad news for lovers of sun-dried tomatoes and/or ice cream. In true understated style the Daily Mail reports on a ‘sun-dried tomato alert' after seven people developed symptoms of hepatitis A. The Mail reports that Hep A ‘is infectious and can lead to fatal liver complications.' Meanwhile The Telegraph draws an unlikely comparison between ice cream and Colombian Marching Powder. The paper reports that ‘craving ice cream could be as addictive as cocaine' after research concluded that the cravings for ice cream were ‘similar to those experienced by drug addicts.'

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