| Updated on January 16, 2018

Sugar tax

The United Kingdom soft drinks industry levy, due to be introduced in April 2018, is estimated to have significant health benefits, especially among children, according to the first study to estimate its health impact, published in The Lancet Public Health.

The proposed levy relates to the sugar content of drinks: no tax on diet and low sugar drinks; a low tax on mid-sugar drinks; and a high tax on high-sugar drinks. In the study, researchers modelled three ways that the soft drinks industry may respond to the levy: reformulating drinks to reduce sugar content, passing some of the levy to consumers by raising the price of sugary drinks, and using marketing to encourage consumers to switch to lower sugar drinks. The study finds that an industry response that focuses on reducing sugar content is likely to have the greatest impact on health, with additional benefits if industry increases the price of high and mid-sugar drinks, or can successfully use marketing to persuade consumers to switch to low sugar drinks. The move would have a ssignificant impact on obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, the journal said.

USFDA okays new tissue expander

The United States Food and Drug Administration has allowed marketing of a new tissue expander system for soft tissue expansion in two-stage breast reconstruction following mastectomy and in the treatment of underdeveloped breasts and soft tissue deformities. A patient uses a dose controller to independently inflate the expander.

A tissue expander is a balloon-like device that has a soft, expandable polymer shell and is gradually filled with saline or air. Tissue expanders are typically used prior to breast reconstruction to cause breast tissue and muscle to stretch over time, which creates a space (called a “pocket”) for the breast implant.

The AeroForm device is a wireless tissue expander for patients who choose to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. Most women who have mastectomies to treat or prevent breast cancer are eligible for breast reconstruction.

UK's Christmas warning

The UK's MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has created the FakeMeds advent calendar this December to tie in with their ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the risks of fake and unlicensed medical products sold online. A new festive animation is being posted every day on the calendar across MHRA’s social media channels. Behind each door are Christmas-themed messages about the kinds of products MHRA seize, warnings about potential health risks, or advice on how to buy safely and report suspected fakes. The three year campaign was launched in August 2016 with a focus on fake and unlicensed diet pills. MHRA removes thousands of potentially deadly unlicensed slimming medicines from the black market every year.

Published on December 24, 2016

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