In brief

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 31 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8683

England’s thalidomide survivors receive grant: The Thalidomide Trust has been given £80m (€97m; $129m) over 10 years by the government to help England’s 325 surviving “thalidomiders.” The grant, which has been piloted for the past three years, had previously been used to help thalidomiders alter their houses or to improve health and living standards in other areas of life.

Dutch MPs tackle teenage drinking: Children under 16 years in the Netherlands who are found with alcohol in public face fines of €45 (£37; $60) as part of a crackdown by the Ministry of Health on underage drinking. The new law is backed by a publicity campaign aimed at teenagers and parents, while proposals before parliament aim to raise the age limit to 18. Paediatricians have warned of increasing numbers of teenagers with alcoholic poisoning (BMJ doi:10.1136/bmj.e3074).

Quitting smoking reduces anxiety: Smokers who quit feel less anxious afterwards, a study from the British Journal of Psychiatry has found (doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.112.114389). It followed 491 smokers who attended eight NHS smoking cessation classes and were given nicotine patches. After six months 68 smokers had quit. All of those who had quit showed a decrease in anxiety, with those who had “smoked to cope” showing a significant decrease compared with those who had “smoked for pleasure.”

NHS removed 418 PIP implants from private patients: In total, 7917 women who had breast implants made by Poly Implant Prosthèse (PIP) fitted by private clinics were referred to the NHS for review up to the end of November 2012. To date, 5255 scans have been completed; 633 women decided to have their implants removed on the NHS and 418 operations have been done; 4328 women required no further help from the NHS. Such implants were given to around 47 000 women in the UK (BMJ doi:10.1136/bmj.d8313).

Drug wastage costs Scotland £500 000 in 2011-12: Figures collected by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information requests show that two Scottish health boards—Lothian and Grampian—removed and destroyed 80 tonnes of unused prescribed drugs returned to pharmacies in 2011-12. The cost to the NHS in Scotland of dealing with wasted drugs was £517 342 (€629 500; $836 076) a year. Lib Dem health spokesman, Jim Hume, said these costs did not take into account the value of the wasted drugs or the cost of prescribing them. Doctors and patients must do more to avoid wasting drugs, he said.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8683