In brief

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 06 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f767

French doctors are jailed for radiation overdoses: Two radiotherapists and a radiologist have been sentenced to 18 months in prison for overdoses given to patients being treated at the Jean Monnet Hospital in Epinal in northeastern France between 2001 and 2006. They were charged with manslaughter, failure to help people in danger, and destroying evidence. At least 12 patients died and 448 others were harmed from overdoses given at the hospital.1 The radiotherapists were each fined €20 000 (£17 200; $27 000) and banned from practising medicine for life. The radiologist was fined €10 000 and banned from working in radiology for five years.

WHO issues new guidance on sodium and potassium: Adults should consume less than 2 g of sodium (equivalent to 5 g of salt) but at least 3.5 g of potassium a day, say new guidelines from the World Health Organization.2 A person with elevated sodium levels and low potassium levels could be at risk of raised blood pressure, it says. Currently, most people consume too much sodium and not enough potassium.

France suspends sale of acne pill: The French health regulator ANSM (Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé) has said that it will suspend sales of Bayer’s acne pill Diane 35 and its generic versions after four deaths over 25 years were linked to the drug. The French authorities believe that the drug, which is often used as a contraceptive, quadruples a woman’s chances of having blood clots. Bayer said that it was “surprised” by the decision as it was “not aware of any new scientific evidence leading to a change in the positive benefit-risk assessment” of the drug.

Irish cabinet to discuss abortion law: The Irish health minister, James Reilly, has said that a memo on planned legislation on abortion will be brought to cabinet this week. He was speaking at the presentation to him of a 1000 page report on last month’s three day parliamentary committee hearings into the issue. The minister said he hoped that a new abortion law could be enacted before the summer.

GSK launches inhaler recycling scheme: The drug company GlaxoSmithKline has launched a scheme for recycling inhalers in over 1300 pharmacies across the UK ( Every year in the UK 73 million inhalers are used, and over 63% are placed in domestic bins after use. A pilot of the scheme showed that nearly a third of inhalers were not empty when they were returned. The scheme would offer opportunities for pharmacists to help patients improve their use of inhalers, said the company.

ABO blood type is linked to thrombophilia: Danish researchers have reported an additive effect of ABO blood type on risk of venous thromboembolism when combined with factor V Leiden R506Q and prothrombin G20210A mutations. They noted that blood type was the most important risk factor for venous thromboembolism in the general population and suggested that people with ABO blood be considered for inclusion in genetic screening for thrombophilia.3


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f767