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July 09, 2021


This week in Pharma


By MastersConnect

Our roundup of the top Pharma stories this week...

WHO backs arthritis drugs for severe COVID-19

After mixed results in initial testing, acceptance of using IL-6 rheumatoid arthritis drugs in severely ill COVID-19 patients has increased over time. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now added its backing to the use of these drugs in conjunction with corticosteroids. 

Many who are severely ill with COVID-19 have an overreaction of the immune system, and IL-6 receptor antagonists suppress the overreaction, WHO said. However, it adds that the drugs are too expensive to be used in many places across of the world.

MHRA approves over-the-counter contraceptive pill

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved reclassification of the Desogestrel contraceptive pills Lovima and Hana, making them available to purchase in the UK without a prescription. 

This is the first time that a form of daily contraceptive pill has been licensed for over-the-counter sale in the UK. The two reclassified products are both 75 microgram progesterone-only tablets.

The contraceptives will remain available, and free of charge, from doctors and sexual health clinics, in addition to being able to be sold directly to users via a pharmacist.

New website to help find trusted information

A new website, PIF TICK, has launched to help people find trusted health information online. The website allows members of the public to identify which organisations have the PIF Tick - a quality mark for health information. It also offers advice on finding trusted information. 

PIF-TICK replaces the discontinued Information Standard, and is run by the non-profit Patient Information Forum.

The scheme has 41 accredited members, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, and Bupa UK. An additional 30 organisations are in the process of being assessed. 

To gain the tick, members must meet 10 key steps. 

 

 

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