In brief

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 13 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f977

Pharmacists want ban on multi-buy deals on paracetamol: The UK Royal Pharmaceutical Society has called for legislation to stop retailers offering multi-buy deals on paracetamol, after research published by the BMJ last week showed that limiting paracetamol pack sizes had cut deaths from overdose of the drug.1 Voluntary guidelines exist, but the retailer Poundland contravened these in 2012 and continues to sell three packs for £1.

Doctors should advise cancer patients on lifestyle: A survey of 1200 patients with cancer and their close friends and family showed that more than 80% thought that doctors should give patients with cancer advice on eating habits, weight loss, and exercise. Doctors often didn’t give such advice for fear of seeming insensitive or to avoid implying “blame” at a time when patients were trying to cope with the stress of diagnosis or treatment, said the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer.2

UK regulator is seeing more drugs with no English language insert: The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has reported that a growing number of pharmacy only and prescription only drugs from Poland and other eastern European countries are being offered for sale in the United Kingdom without an insert in English. Last year alone the MHRA investigated 74 cases of such drugs being sold in “corner shops.”

Drinkers underestimate alcohol intake: Some people underestimate their alcohol intake by as much as 40%, research published by the Department of Health for England has found. Its Change4Life team asked 19 people to keep a detailed drinking diary for two weeks. On average, each was drinking more than they thought by the equivalent of an extra large glass of wine each day.

Number of organ donors rises in Israel after they get transplantation priority: In Israel an unprecedented 100 000 people joined the registered donor list last year after a policy was introduced to give priority for organs to registered donors. More than 50 people on the list of 717 000 were given organs because of their higher priority. The number of transplantations conducted overall fell after a 23% decline in the number of road deaths and a 16% drop in fatal cerebrovascular incidents.

Flu season in Europe started earlier in 2012-13: This winter’s seasonal influenza epidemics in Europe started earlier in western Europe and Scandinavia than they did in the 2011-12 season, according to the latest assessment from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Overall no clear dominance of any particular flu virus has appeared. A(H3N2), A(H1N1), and both lineages of B viruses (Yamagata and Victoria) are circulating in substantial numbers.3


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f977