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The ‘special’ prices of NHS drugs, MPs to quiz CQC chiefs and how a brain scan may help doctors treat depression

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered an investigation into claims drug companies may have charged NHS inflated prices for drugs and pocketed the difference, writes The Telegraph.

The newspaper’s undercover investigation indicates that prices may be artificially raised for so-called ‘specials’ drugs which are not on the nationally controlled NHS drugs list.

The Telegraph further unveils a letter where the current chief executive of the CQC last month threatened to sue the newspaper for linking the departure of the former executive team of the regulator to the failures at Morecambe Bay.

Yesterday, the CQC revealed that three former top officials were implicated in the alleged cover-up, including former chief executive Cynthia Bower, her deputy Jill Finney and media manager Anna Jefferson, and according to BBC News, the current CQC bosses are now set to be quizzed by MPs.

House of Commons health committee chair Stephen Dorrell told the news channel that CQC chief executive David Behan and CQC chairman David Prior to explain the CQC’s failure to resond properly to the deaths to MPs.

Mr Dorrell said: ‘What’s important to patients is that the people who are now in charge of the CQC have to demonstrate in public, convincingly and quickly, how they are going to build the effectiveness of this organisation so that it can deliver the regulatory function that we pay for and need.’

Away from the CQC scandal, the BBC also reports on findings indicating that iron supplements may be beneficial in pregnancy even if the prospective mothers are not iron deficient.

A British Medical Journal study which analysed the results of more than 90 randomised trials and studies involving pregnant women and iron deficiency rates found it lowered the risk of low birth weight.

At the moment, pregnant women in the UK are only given iron supplements if they are found to have low iron levels.

Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reports on a study indicating that a brain scan may help doctors decide whether a depressed patient is best treated with antidepressant medication or cognitive behavioural therapies.

The US researchers discovered that patients with low activity in anterior insula show improvement with CBT while people with high activity in the anteior insula do better with medication.

Dr Helen Mayberg at Emory University in Atlanta, who led the study, said: ”This data suggests that if you treat based on a patient’s brain type, you increase the chance of getting them into remission.’





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