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Greedy pharmacists, post-code lotteries and an unlimited supply of human eggs

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Monday 27 February.

Guardian reporters have a report that says the NHS faces ‘acute financial pressure’ to ration treatments. The Nuffield Trust surveyed 821 GPs and came to the conclusion that the Government needs to clarify what is and is not available. They found 83% of GPs  fear these pressures, coupled with the NHS reforms breaking up spending into commissioning groups with different clinical priorities, will create a post-code lottery.

Reporters at the Telegraph state new research may give women the potential to have children well into later life. The old understanding that women have a finite number of eggs has been superceded by new research from Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. Human stem cells containing the protein DDX4 which were extracted spontaneously became oocytes, or immature cells. An autologous graft of these live cells into mice allowed the cells to mature to egg cells. The lab team then fertilised mice stem cells to illustrate to potential of their research. The team admit a lot more research is needed before the process will work in humans.

The national shortage of common prescription medications, including anti-Parkinson’s, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer medications, is due to some profit-hungry chemists exporting drugs meant for British consumption, claim reporters in the Times (paywall). The Pharmacy Voice, a group representing chemists, said this practice is ‘completely unacceptable’ and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries state a need for complete division of wholesale drug sales and dispensing.