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#GPnews: DH appoints ‘commercial officer’ to bring down drugs price tag

16:16 Sperm count in Western men has declined by more than half in 40 years, according to an alarming new study.

The Israeli scientists said their findings, based on 43,000 men, were ‘shocking’ and could point to worsening general health among men, reports the Guardian.

But UK experts said it was unclear what was behind the decline, which could cause fertility issues and increase demand for IVF treatment.

14:15 The Department of Health has introduced a new senior role of ‘chief commercial officer’. Steve Oldfield, who will start in October, will have the job of bringing down the cost of the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS), currently costing £8bn annually, and advise health bodies in general on commercial contracts.

Mr Oldfield is currently chief operating officer for PGT, a consumer health joint venture between Procter & Gamble and Teva, based in Geneva.

DH permanent secretary Chris Wormald said: ‘We face a number of commercial challenges across the health family, not least putting in place the next generation of the medicines pricing scheme, but we see huge opportunities for better delivery for patients and better value for money for the taxpayers from improved commercial skills and experience.’

09:15 The number of people with diabetic sight loss has halved since a national Welsh screening programme was introduced in 2007, reports the BBC.

Since its introduction, the number of people affected per 100,000 fell from 31.3% to 15.8%.

This comes despite the fact a fifth of people offered the annual test don’t take it up, according to the study published in the BMJ.

The Swansea University researchers said they estimate the eyesight of 22 people has been saved to date.

Dr Quentin Sandifer, medical director of Public Health Wales, said: ‘We would encourage people living with diabetes to take up the offer when they receive their invitation.

’This is a great example of the NHS working together to improve outcomes for our population and is especially impressive as sight loss has reduced even through the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Wales has increased over this time.’

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