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GPs cheerlead NHS reforms, Publication ‘bias’ on obesity drugs, and why a latte could reduce the risk of some breast cancers

By Ellie Broughton

Our round-up of the health headlines on Wednesay 11 May

Over 40 GPs have written to the Daily Telegraph today to call on the Government to press on with the Health and Social Care Bill and support health secretary Andrew Lansley’s reforms.

The ‘most elderly, inform and vulnerable’ in society will get ‘enormous benefits’ from the reforms, according to the 42 GPs who signed the letter. Lansley responded: ‘I welcome the appetite shown by doctors to lead improvements in the NHS and deliver benefits for patients.’

Drugs regulator EMA has come under fire from several papers today for putting its commercial interests ahead of the safety of its patients. The Guardian and the Independent both picked up on two Danish scientists’ struggle with the agency over publication bias. The pair requested unpublished trial data on obesity drugs in 2007, and waited until February 2011 for EMA to release the documents.

Anti-obesity pills can create fatal cardiac and pulmonary complications, as well as psychiatric disturbances including suicidal events, the pair told journalists. And that’s just while you’re waiting for the paperwork…

Lastly, there’s a regular dose of anti-cancer advice from the Daily Mail and the Telegraph – but only if you’re a postmenopausal woman trying to avoid oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer. Swedish scientists found that, of nearly 5,000 women over 50, those who drank more than five cups of coffee a day reduced their cancer risk by 20%. Get the kettle on, doctor…

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