News

In brief

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39538.482569.4E (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:742

Majority of BMJ readers want to shift responsibility for sick notes: Just over half of respondents to our poll asking whether responsibility for signing people off sick should be transferred from GPs to occupational health teams said it should: 56% (415) said yes and 44% (324) said no. Visit bmj.com to vote in this week’s poll.

Eli Lilly settles out of court for $15m: The drug maker Eli Lilly has agreed to pay the state of Alaska $15m (£7.6m; €9.5m) in an out of court settlement after the state sued it for failing to warn adequately that its antipsychotic drug olanzapine (Zyprexa) caused serious and sometimes fatal side effects, such as weight gain and diabetes.

GMC offers guidance on disabled medical students: The General Medical Council has issued guidance to medical schools on encouraging disabled people to apply for places. Medical schools now have a legal duty to find out how they can adapt their courses to meet the needs of disabled students. Some have already set up hearing loop systems and provided specially modified stethoscopes for students with impaired hearing. Advising Medical Schools: Encouraging Disabled Students is at www.gmc-uk.org.

No link is found between smoking and weight among teenage girls: A new Canadian study in Annals of Epidemiology (doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2007.12.010) reports that girls aged 12 to 17 years who smoke cigarettes were no more likely to lose weight than girls who do not smoke. But the five year study found that teenage boys who smoke were shorter than other boys and had a lower body mass index.

Israel passes laws to encourage organ donation: Two new laws passed by Israel’s parliament aim to encourage organ donation from brain stem dead patients among Orthodox and traditional Jews, Muslims, and others. The laws will also allow compensation for expenses for live donors while formally prohibiting the sale of organs by Israelis in the country or abroad. Doctors who have undertaken a short course on medical ethics and brain death will determine the moment of brain stem death.

China will invest in cervical cancer screening: China’s health ministry has announced that it will invest ¥200m (£14m; €18m; $28m) to set up cervical cancer screening and treatment centres, enabling 200 000 Chinese women to be screened for free in the coming three years.

Football fans face vaccination requirement: The Swiss Office of Public Health is recommending that incoming tourists, especially soccer fans attending the Euro 2008 games in June, have been given the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination, because of a measles epidemic. From November 2006 to mid-March this year 1830 cases of measles were reported (24 cases per 100 000 people), nearly 700 of which occurred this year.

Prostate cancer programme did not result in more referrals: A survey of GPs in England shows that the prostate cancer risk management programme, launched in 2002 together with guidelines on age specific cut-off levels for prostate specific antigen in asymptomatic men, did not lead to a significant increase in the number of referrals (British Journal of Cancer doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604291).

UN calls for more investment in HIV prevention in Asia: Asian countries could stop HIV and AIDS becoming the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 44 years by investing just $0.30 (£0.15; €0.19) per person on focused prevention, a report commissioned by the UN says. Nearly five million people in Asia have HIV, of whom 300 000 died last year of HIV related diseases. Redefining AIDS in Asia is at www.unaids.org.

Hong Kong schools reopen: The Hong Kong government has decided to reopen all primary schools and kindergartens on 31 March after a two week closure prompted by the deaths of three children from flu-like symptoms. Individual schools may be closed again if there is a further cluster of cases.

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