In brief

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 17 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6974

Scottish judges reject appeal on cigarette vending machines: An attempt by the tobacco industry to halt a ban on cigarettes being sold in vending machines in Scotland has been thrown out by the Court of Session. Britain’s biggest vending machine operator, Sinclair Collis, which is owned by Imperial Tobacco, argued that the ban infringed free trade laws, but the court rejected this argument.

Bangladeshi tanneries are causing ill health: The campaigning group Human Rights Watch has berated the government of Bangladesh for failing to enforce health and safety legislation in the leather tanneries in the Hazaribagh neighbourhood of Dhaka and delaying plans to relocate and improve the factories. Workers complained of skin diseases and respiratory illnesses from chemicals and limb amputations caused by dangerous tannery machinery, and nearby slum dwellers complained of fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and diarrhoea caused by the tanneries’ pollution of air, water, and soil.1

First private abortion clinic opens in Northern Ireland: Marie Stopes Northern Ireland is to open the first private abortion service in the country on 18 October. Medical abortion up to nine weeks’ gestation will be offered in line with the law. Short and long term contraceptive options, emergency contraception, HIV testing, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and ultrasonography will also be available.

Cranberry juice is unlikely to prevent cystitis: An updated systematic review from the Cochrane Library says that women would have to consume two glasses of cranberry juice a day for long periods to prevent one urinary tract infection. The researchers therefore concluded that current evidence did not support a preventive role for cranberry juice.2

WHO condemns attacks on health facilities in Syria: The World Health Organization has called for halts to the violence in Syria so that patients can reach health facilities and drugs, vaccines, and medical equipment can be supplied. It also called for protection for all health personnel. Two thirds of public hospitals have been affected by the conflict, and 29% of those affected are out of service, WHO said. And 271 of 520 ambulances have been damaged or affected, of which 177 are out of service.

Dengue fever is reported in Madeira for first time: The UK Health Protection Agency said that it was aware of 18 confirmed cases and 191 probable cases of dengue fever in Madeira since early October 2012. This is the first time that dengue fever has been reported there. Infection experts are advising travellers to take precautions against mosquito bites, such as wearing long sleeves and trousers and applying insect repellent, particularly around dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most active.

Indonesia grants seven generic licences: The government of Indonesia has issued a “government use” decree on seven drugs used to treat HIV and hepatitis B that will allow local companies to produce generic versions of the treatments and could significantly reduce prices. The innovator companies will be paid a royalty of 0.5%. Indonesia has around 310 000 people infected with HIV.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6974