This week’s news round-up is headlined by reports that a new government plan hopes to speed up the time it takes for new, life-changing medicines to reach NHS patients. In April next year, five new drugs will be selected for fast-tracking.
Elsewhere, a new study has suggested that being married and having close friends may have protect people from dementia. We also have an update on a story we reported last week, with a Just Giving campaign raising over £4000 for an elderly woman who was robbed whilst shopping in her local Aldi store.
Five Medicines to be fast-tracked each year
A new government plan has been revealed which will include five medicines being selected for fast-tracking each year. The hope is that the time taken for new, life-changing medicines to reach patients will decrease thanks to the new plan.
Each year, starting from April 2018, a panel of experts will select around five drugs or devices for fast-tracking. This could mean that important medicines could become available up to four years earlier than they normally would.
One such item which would have benefited from such plans is the new flash glucose monitor, used by those affected by type 1 diabetes, which become available in the UK last month. The new panel will be led by Sir Andrew Witty, former head of drug company GlaxoSmithKline.
Speaking about the new medicine plans, Dr Richard Torbett, executive director of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said:
“This should benefit thousands of NHS patients as well as delivering significant long-term savings for the health service if appropriate investment in these transformative therapies is made available.”
As part of the plans, there will also be financial support for companies to help them develop their treatments more quickly.
Marriage and Friendship may protect against Dementia
A new study, carried out by a group of Loughborough University researchers, has suggested that marriage and close friendships may help protect people against dementia. The study, published in Journals of Gerontology, followed 6677 adults for just under seven years.
Nobody who took part in the study had dementia at the start of the trial, but 220 were diagnosed during it. The researchers compared traits of those who did and those who did not develop the condition to find clues to as how social life affects the risk.
Prof Eef Hogervorst suggested that when it comes to friends, it’s about quality, not quantity. She explained:
“You can be surrounded by people, but it is the number of close relationships that is associated with a reduced risk for dementia… it’s not about the quantity.”
Researchers who took part in the study have claimed that the overall quality of a person’s social circle appeared to be more important that the overall size. The new study also suggests that single people had twice the risk of developing dementia during the trial, compared to those who were married.
Over £4000 raised for Elderly Distraction Theft Victim
Last week we spoke about a JustGiving page which was set-up to help raise money for an elderly victim of distraction theft. CCTV footage went viral of an 87-year-old women being distracted in her local Aldi store, whilst a man stole her purse from her bag.
Last week the amount raised was around £2000. The figures have now reached an amazing £4460, with over 400 people donating money. Supporters on the page have left messages for the elderly lady who was targeted, as well as the woman behind the JustGiving page, Amanda Williams.
A lady called Vicki Culshaw commented:
“Such a nice thing to do Amanda. Hope these ‘men’ get caught and the lady still had the confidence to go out alone. Some real low lives in this world.”
Money raised from the charity page will be passed on to Oswestry Police station so that they can forward to money to the victim of this shocking crime.
Police have asked anyone with information on the incident to call them on 101.