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UK asks drug companies to sign no-deal Brexit gag clause

LONDON — Drug companies advising the U.K. government on how to maintain medicine supplies after a no..

LONDON — Drug companies advising the U.K. government on how to maintain medicine supplies after a no-deal Brexit have signed strict non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) barring them from revealing information on planned border arrangements and supply routes.

The government is being so secretive that information is only being provided to firms orally, or via hard copies of documents that must be returned at the end of meetings, according to a draft NDA document published by Department of Health and Social Care.

Firms consulted on no-deal arrangements are threatened with injunction if they breach the terms of the agreements.

The government has been in close contact with the pharmaceutical industry, which is stockpiling drugs to ensure British citizens still have access to vital medicines if supply routes are disrupted by delays at the border.

The template NDA, published by the department in response to a written parliamentary question from the opposition Labour party, states that the government “will need to share confidential and sensitive information about customs and border arrangements and supply routes.”

Attendees at meetings are required not to divulge what they have heard, “not to take or make a copy of any papers provided for a meeting,” and “to return at the end of each meeting where requested any papers or material provided by the Department.”

Mike Thompson, CEO of industry body the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), told POLITICO: “Given the complexity of planning — including commercially sensitive information shared between government and industry — an NDA was agreed to support effective planning for continued medicines supply in a no deal Brexit.

“The ABPI is clear and continues to advise government that no deal is not in the interest of patients in the U.K. or the EU.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons health committee last week that he was “confident … so long as everybody does what they need to do” that the U.K. would have an “unhindered supply of medicines,” even if there is no deal.

“We are getting on with making sure that we have the plans in place, and we are taking the actions that we need to take now in order to have the mitigations in place,” he said.

The Department of Health and Social Care had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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I lost my arms and legs – stop it happening to others

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his fac..

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his face removed has called for mandatory training on sepsis for NHS staff.

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious complication of an infection, which can have devastating consequences if not treated quickly.

There were delays in spotting Tom Ray's sepsis.

He says a commitment is needed to avoid more tragedies.

Tom's story

Tom Ray was fit and healthy and living in Rutland in the East Midlands before he contracted sepsis at the age of 38 in 1999.

He had had a successful career in corporate banking and was in the process of setting up a business with his pregnant wife, Nic, when he fell ill.

His sepsis – thought to be caused by a cut to his gum during a trip to the dentist, combined with a chest infection – came on rapidly and led to vomiting and a high temperature.

But it took five hours at the hospital he was admitted to before the condition was diagnosed.

He spent months in a coma, during which time his wife Nic gave birth to their second child, Freddy.

His recovery has been a long and gruelling process, involving years of plastic surgery. (more…)

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Health

I lost my arms and legs – stop it happening to others

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his fac..

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his face removed has called for mandatory training on sepsis for NHS staff.

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious complication of an infection, which can have devastating consequences if not treated quickly.

There were delays in spotting Tom Ray's sepsis.

He says a commitment is needed to avoid more tragedies.

Tom's story

Tom Ray was fit and healthy and living in Rutland in the East Midlands before he contracted sepsis at the age of 38 in 1999.

He had had a successful career in corporate banking and was in the process of setting up a business with his pregnant wife, Nic, when he fell ill.

His sepsis – thought to be caused by a cut to his gum during a trip to the dentist, combined with a chest infection – came on rapidly and led to vomiting and a high temperature.

But it took five hours at the hospital he was admitted to before the condition was diagnosed.

He spent months in a coma, during which time his wife Nic gave birth to their second child, Freddy.

His recovery has been a long and gruelling process, involving years of plastic surgery. (more…)

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Health

NHS ‘should not prescribe acne drug’

The parents of young people who have killed themselves and patients unable to have sex are calling f..

The parents of young people who have killed themselves and patients unable to have sex are calling for the NHS to stop prescribing acne drug Roaccutane.

Ed Henthorn said it had caused him erectile dysfunction, psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

And one man who believes his son killed himself after taking the drug said the risks "are just too high".

Manufacturer Roche said "millions of patients worldwide have benefited from taking the drug".

The majority of those who take the drug have a positive experience.

'Pretty overwhelming'

"I used to think about girls… but my feelings, thoughts, just faded away," Ed Henthorn told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

He was 19 when he took Roaccutane. He describes his acne as mild but bad enough to want to treat.

After three weeks he started to experience side-effects, including reduced energy and sex drive.

Then he experienced erectile dysfunction.

"That was why I decided to stop taking it," he said. (more…)

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