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Swine flu vaccination row; Tamiflu effectiveness questioned; British ‘sick man of Europe’

Our daily digest of news headlines from Wednesday 9 December 2009.

By Steve Nowottny

Our daily digest of news headlines from Wednesday 9 December 2009.

Three big swine flu stories today, all competing for space across the nationals, many of whom cover at least two in some kind of package.

The collapse of talks between the Department of Health and GPC over how to fund swine flu vaccination of the under fives is perhaps the most-covered angle, with the Times reporting that ‘GPs fear swine flu jabs for children may hit bonuses' and the Daily Telegraph going with ‘Cash row threat to child flu jabs'.

But the Daily Mail, who might have been expected to jump on the breakdown in talks as the latest evidence of GP greed, prefers to focus instead on the fact that 'Only one in five swine flu cases was genuine'.

The third story covers a review published in the BMJ which queries the effectiveness of Tamiflu in combating swine flu. ‘Tamiflu may be worthless in fight against swine flu say scientists' is the Independent's headline, while the Guardian goes with the even more contentious: ‘Roche withholding Tamiflu trial data'.

Swine flu is completely absent from the Daily Mail's health-related front page story, however, which confidently declares ‘Britain: Sick man of Europe'. The story covers a new survey published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which ranks Britain alongside the Czech Republic and Poland in an ‘international league table of health' – heart attack and cancer survival rates are among the worst in the developed world.

And finally the Telegraph reports that ‘women who have survived breast cancer can safely enjoy a soy latte or a pad Thai with tofu in the knowledge that it may help to reduce the chances of the disease returning.'

While some previous studies have suggested that soy foods may encourage cancer or interfere with treatment, researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, in America, found that ‘patients with the highest intake of soy protein had a 29 per cent lower risk of death during the study period, and a 32 per cent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to patients with the lowest intake of soy protein.'

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest

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