South Korea reports 2 new MERS cases

South Korea reports 2 new MERS cases


May 27, 2015

SEOUL/SEJONG — South Korea have confirmed two new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), raising the total number of people diagnosed with the deadly viral disease to five.

The two patients came in close and direct contact with the first patient, a 68-year-old male who had traveled to the Middle East before returning to Korea on May 4, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The man’s wife was the second patient diagnosed with the disease, while the third was a 76-year-old man who shared a hospital room with the first patient before he was moved to a CDC-designated hospital.

On Tuesday, the CDC said a daughter of the third patient has been diagnosed with the disease, and a doctor who examined the first patient earlier this month was later diagnosed with the disease.

But a nurse, who had been listed as a suspected case, tested negative for the virus.

The CDC believes all of patients two through five, including the daughter of the third patient, contracted the MERS coronavirus after coming in close and direct contact with the first patient.

The daughter of the third patient, the fourth person to be diagnosed, stayed in the hospital room her father had shared with the first patient for four hours while tending to her father, according to the CDC.

Whether or not she caught the virus from the first patient is critical to how the CDC will deal with the new disease since contraction from the patient’s own father would mean a secondary infection, which may require additional quarantine steps.

All five people, along with 59 others who had come in close contact with the first patient, had been placed in isolation.

MERS is a viral respiratory illness that is fairly new to humans, with only 1,142 reported cases in 23 countries since the first case was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There currently is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which has a very high fatality rate of 40.7 percent.



Taiwan-Doctor to head to S. Korea to study MERS-CoV: CDC


Doctor to head to S. Korea to study MERS-CoV: CDC

May 28, 2015, 12:20 am TWN

TAIPEI — Taiwan will send a doctor to South Korea Thursday to learn about the development of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) there after it reported a fifth case, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Wednesday.

CDC Director-General Steve Hsu-sung Kuo said the doctor will learn first hand about the status of the virus and measures taken at airports there to counter the virus’ spread, while also providing health information to Taiwanese nationals in the country.

Despite the announcement of a fifth MERS-CoV case in South Korea confirmed on Tuesday, another CDC official said Taiwan has not issued a travel alert for the country because the latest case was not a community infection case.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw said the fifth case was a 50-year-old doctor who treated the first MERS-CoV patient on May 17.

“The doctor has long been included in the monitoring group and exercised self-isolation,” Chou said, explaining that it was not a new community infection case, an indication that the virus was not spreading in South Korea.

Chou said the first patient, a 68-year-old man who had recently made a business trip to Bahrain, sought medical treatment in four hospitals, and that as of Wednesday only the one doctor had been infected.

MERS-CoV was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. As of May 23, the World Health Organization had been notified of 1,139 confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 431 related deaths.



Al Rajhi Bank launches new medical plan

Al Rajhi Bank launches new medical plan

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


KUALA LUMPUR: Al Rajhi Bank launched its newest medical plan, i-Medic, which offers affordable and comprehensive medical and hospitalisation coverage for its customers. 

Underwritten by AIA PUBLIC Takaful Bhd (AIA PUBLIC), i-Medic is designed to meet the needs of Malaysians who require affordable, flexible and family-oriented medical and hospitalisation coverage.

Al Rajhi Bank’s acting chief executive officer Selamat Haji Sirat said, “The launch of i-Medic will enable Al Rajhi Bank to strengthen its bancatakaful products offering and create opportunity to expand its retail portfolio through new innovative financial solutions.”

Under the partnership, i-Medic will be promoted and marketed through Al Rajhis 24 branches nationwide. In return, Al Rajhi will benefit from AIA PUBLICs customer-centric sales approach, training, marketing and technology support. Besides AIA PUBLIC Takaful, Al Rajhi Bank has collaborated with Great Eastern Takaful to distribute i-Great Raudhah and i-Great Bakti.

AIA PUBLIC chief executive officer Elmie Aman Najas said, “This is another milestone achieved by AIA PUBLIC as we enter into a partnership to distribute advisory product with Al Rajhi Bank. This provides the opportunity for AIA PUBLIC to leverage Al Rajhi Banks distribution strength through its network of branches and representative offices nationwide.”

In addition, it is a strategic and innovative approach by AIA PUBLIC to extend its reach to new, potential bank based customers.

i-Medic, which comes with a No Lifetime Limit feature, is designed to cover hospitalisation and surgical expenses due to sickness and accidental causes up to 99 years old. 

When a customer participates in this medical plan, the person will receive a medical card with a swipe feature that eases hospital admissions at AIA panel hospitals. Through its Family Plan feature, i-Medic offers its participants the option to extend the medical coverage to their spouse and children.

To give AIA customers more choice in meeting their protection needs, AIA PUBLIC applies the Takaful concept to develop Shariah solutions that offer similar features and benefits to AIAs insurance products.

Leveraging on its established principles and operations in the Middle East, Al Rajhi Bank ventured out as an international bank by setting up its first overseas operations in Malaysia. 

Operating on the same platform as the home bank, Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia extensively uses the latest banking technology to consistently provide customers with speed and convenience in banking. To date, it has 24 branches, 15 in the Klang Valley, one in Johor Bahru, Melaka, Penang, Kuching, Kota Bharu, Ipoh, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu and Sungai Petani respectively. Plans are in the way to open a few more this year.

Al Rajhi opened it Affluent Banking flagship branch in Menara BRDB in Bangsar to cater to its high net worth customers. Offsite ATMs are now located in many locations throughout Malaysia.

The bank is expanding its suite of products and services that currently offers customised corporate and investment banking products which include amongst others project financing, term financing, working capital financing, trade finance facilities and cash management services. 

The Retail banking products includes Savings Account-i, Current Account-i, Personal Financing-i, Debit Card-i, Fixed Term Investment-i, Money Transfer i-Tahweel, Automobile Financing-i, Home Financing-i, and Structured Home Financing-i amongst others.

To date, Al Rajhi has a customer base over 160,000 with the number growing steadily.- Bernama



Korea’s medical workers sent to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone share stories

Korea’s medical workers sent to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone share storiesUpdated: 2015-05-18 03:15:32 KST


When President Park Geun-hye announced her decision to deploy Korean medical workers to Ebola-hit West Africa last October, the administration initially faced questions about their safety.
The three teams of a total of 24 medical workers were Korea’s first emergency personnel sent overseas in response to an outbreak, and their safe return has bolstered the administration’s confidence in the capabilities of Korea’s medical community.
In a meeting with the medical personnel at her office recently, President Park said she was impressed that so many of them had volunteered to be part of the team, despite the possibility of exposure to the deadly virus.
Dr. Choi Young-mi was at high risk of Ebola infection after one of her fingers came into contact with an infected needle.

“When the accident happened, instead of worrying about whether I would contract Ebola, I despaired at the thought of whether I’d be forced to leave Sierra Leone.”

The team faced other challenges, including scorching heat during the day and having to work in shifts through the night.
But they said that receiving a show of appreciation from the locals and feeling like they’d made a contribution to the health of humanity and world peace… made it all worthwhile.

“The locals gave us the thumbs up, saying, ‘Korea ‘ After hearing about the work we did, they said Koreans work really hard, and we became good friends.”

The presidential office says Seoul will use the experience to bolster Korea’s ability to counter an outbreak and seek more ways to play a role in providing international humanitarian aid in the future.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.

Traditional Natural Medical Physician Confab from Friday

Traditional Natural Medical Physician Confab from Friday

by Salena Pail, Posted on May 21, 2015, Thursday


MIRI: International Traditional Natural Medical Physician Conference 2015 to be held at Meritz Hotel Level 7 on Friday and Saturday is expected to attract more than 1,000 participants.

According to the event spokesperson, Prof Dr Harlem Shah the conference will be coordinated by 20 international doctors from various fields who will conduct talks during the 2-day event.

The first of its kind to be held in Miri, the event will be hosted by Miri Traditional Chinese Physicians’ Association.

Harlem said they have registered 800 delegates for the conference which target 1,200 participants.

Speakers from various fields will provide free treatment to the public at the one-stop event.

The talks will be on topics such as auricular acupuncture, health management – sports and metamorphosis reaction, herbal anti-aging, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory drugs, scalp acupuncture system, hydrogen therapy, hormone therapy, human spine disorders, next generation pitodynamic therapy, phyobiophysics plants vibrational formulas, folk herbal medicine and medical Feng Shui practice.

There will be 20 booths for medicines and merchandise to be sold at promotional prizes.

The 2-day conference is open to the public at an entrance fee of RM285 inclusive of dinner.

Proceeds from the sales of tickets to attend the conference will go to Traditional & Complementary Medicines Foundation for medical research.

To get a ticket, call Soo Chee Boon at 016-8659122.



What’s next for tobacco control? A smoke-free generation



May 26 2015, 2.15am EDT

Each year 60,000 Australians and millions throughout the world die from cigarette smoking. One billion people are projected to die of tobacco-related disease by 2050. This is a national and international scandal.

The tobacco-free generation is a key “endgame” reform, recognised internationally as part of a suite of measures to finally eliminate tobacco smoking. If legislation currently before the Tasmanian parliament passes, the state could be the first in the world to prohibit the sale of tobacco to people born after 2000.

Before we get into the detail of the proposal, let’s take a closer look at the problem.

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug which is usually obtained through inhaling the smoke of slow-burning tobacco leaves, plus many additives. According to the United States Surgeon General, modern tobacco products are more toxic and addictive than ever, due to cigarette engineering by the tobacco industry, and more likely to cause cancer now than in the last century.

The addiction begins for most smokers as children and teenagers, but breaking the addiction is hard. Two thirds of these victims will die prematurely of disease related to their smoking habit, and the average life lost will be over ten years.

Smokers die of heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive airways disease, asthma and many cancers, above all, lung cancer. Lung cancer is almost exclusively caused by tobacco smoking and has a survival rate of less than 15%.

Why are smokers “victims”? Because they were targeted when young, at a stage when their brains were immature and especially vulnerable to nicotine. This is the core business plan of the tobacco industry, with a constant need for new addicts; they need to get their targets hooked very young.

The industry uses any tactic available to promote their product, and fights any attempt to constrain them. In the affluent West, including Australia, they use money to influence political parties directly, cozying up to individual politicians, in some instances to the point of corruption.

In developing countries, they shamelessly use tactics already outlawed in developed countries, and engage in intimidating legal actions. They finance “front organisations”, who then regurgitate industry mantras about “freedom of choice”, “nanny state”, or freedom of commerce for their “legal” but lethal product.

So, having set the scene, what is the tobacco-free generation legislation all about, and why Tasmania?

Tasmania has smoking rates 50% higher than elsewhere in Australia. Tasmania has widespread multigenerational poverty and social disadvantage, exactly the type of community especially susceptible to drug addiction in general, and tobacco-smoking in particular.

This leads to another twist or two in the cycle of deprivation: through the cost of the cigarettes, the high incidence of mental illness it initiates, long-term poor health in smokers and in babies born to smoking mothers.

Most anti-tobacco legislation has addressed the demand side of the problem:

  • increasing the price
  • banning advertising
  • displaying images that shock
  • using unattractive colours on the packaging.

All of these measures work to some extent, as do mass media campaigns and cessation support services, but mainly in middle class people. More is needed.

The tobacco-free generation is a supply side measure, but implements it in a way that is gradual, does not entrap or criminalise those already addicted, and is highly practical because the machinery to limit sales to young people under 18 is already in place and works well.

The onus is on the retailer not to sell or supply. Retailer compliance with the current law is 98% in Tasmania due to strong enforcement.

In practical terms what the tobacco-free generation legislationwould do if passed by Parliament is to roll forward, from January 2018, the age that a young person can be sold cigarettes, so that anyone born in the 21st century will never get to an age at which it is legal.

At first that sounds startling, but we do know that hardly anyone takes up smoking in their 20s or beyond. Most addicted smokers would like to give up and regret starting. The tobacco-free generation is a very popular measure, in the general population, among smokers and young people.

The age at which young people started their addiction has risen gradually since the 1990s. The age at which smokers start tends to lag behind the “legal” age by about two years. This is because kids get their smokes from friends slightly older than themselves, less often from parents or shops.

Thus the older the age of legal sale, the older the new smokers; so if we can roll the age forward, there will be fewer smoking friends and fewer new smokers, and ultimately just no new smokers. That is what we hope for, and this is what we think is achievable. This of course is why the tobacco companies are screaming blue murder.

The tobacco-free generation is a cry from the heart from people who have had enough. Those backing the amendment include many Tasmanian health professionals and advocates who are fed up with the tobacco companies and their greed, and the complacency of some politicians in the face of so much avoidable suffering.



Once-banned Australian pain drug to be relaunched overseas


 australia-PIC 1

MAY 11, 201512:00AM

An Australian-made version of a pain drug once banned in the US because of toxicity concerns is to be relaunched overseas after approv­al by European health­ ­regulators.

Medical Developments International has invested $10 million developing its inhal­able drug and is looking forward to sales soaring, with the market for emergency pain relief in Britain and Europe worth up to $200m a year.

The company has also won the backing of the CSIRO, which invested $750,000 to help bring down the cost of manufacturing, so it can better compete with commonly used opioids, such as fentanyl and morphine.

The Penthrox inhaler administers the drug methoxyflurane for short-term pain relief. It was first used as an anaesthetic, but this was stopped in the late 70s for causing liver and kidney damage.

In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration withdrew methoxyflurane from the market.

Medical Developments chief executive John Sharman said Penthrox, developed in the 70s by the late Melbourne anaesthetist David Komesaroff, contains just 5 per cent of the active agent of an anaesthetic and had proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials.

In Australia, the drug has been used widely as an analgesic since the 70s by hospitals, surf lifesavers, paramedics, the defence force and sports groups, including the AFL, and pulled in sales of $5.4m last year. Mr Sharman said the inhaler had many advantages over opioid, or narcotic, drugs. “You don’t die from it, you don’t get addicted and you don’t get that cumulative effect,” he said.

“And it has outstanding analgesic properties. In the UK, when the trial was under way, I saw a 16-year-old come in after a skateboarding accident with a compound fracture of the leg and not long after he took the drug he wanted to get up and walk on it.”

Mr Sharman said high prod­uction costs had previously been an issue but the company had worked closely with the CSIRO and was now operating to “world’s best practice” for hi-tech manufacturing out of its plant at Springvale in Melbourne.

This week’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approval gives the firm access to Britain, Ireland, France and Belgium, where hospital emergency departments provide a $100m market opportunity.

The company is also seeking approval for the rest of Europe, worth a further $90m a year, and is preparing a submission to the US Food & Drug Administration.

While Australia is renowned for its research and development, only a handful of local inventions have grown into globally competitive businesses in the vein of Cochlear, which developed the bionic ear, and ResMed, a leading respiratory device maker.

Industry analyst Brent Mitchell Australian firms faced a signif­icant challenge to entering the market: “It’s the scale that is required to get into the market in terms of distrib­ution, especially for a company with a small product portfolio. It’s very hard.”




Meet up with Investigation Newspaper Writing Service, Your Do not ever-Failing Academic Helper

Meet up with Investigation Newspaper Writing Service, Your Do not ever-Failing Academic Helper

We recognize you might be tired. Everyone knows you’ve acquired piles of duties stored for the whole the following month. Read more

Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime

 Auckland Tuesday 5 May 2015.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Greetings, greetings, greetings to all and every one of you. It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to New Zealand and thank you for making the lengthy journey to be here. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health (Medsafe) and The Therapeutics Goods Administration of Australia are proud to be joint hosts for this meeting. New Zealand and Australia have a long and proud history of mutual co-operation.

The safety and effectiveness of our medicines and medical devices is something we take for granted. We expect the supply chain that delivers medicines to our pharmacies and into our homes to operate with high integrity. We just do not expect to see counterfeit medicines.

For those who may venture to purchase from alternative sources or from the internet, of course it is tempting to believe what is being said about these products, and to believe that they too are legitimate; after all, “won’t someone prevent dangerous and illegal products being supplied?” But unfortunately, there are unscrupulous minds at work seeking to make a quick buck at the expense of others.

Like you, I am concerned by criminal involvement in the supply of falsified medicines and medical devices, and the inroads that they are making into the legitimate pharmaceutical supply chain. This is a problem that affects all of us; from the supply of defective, harmful, toxic, counterfeit products to developing countries relying on these as essential medicines; to the sophisticated manipulation of well-regulated markets in order to make money from fraudulent activities.

The internet is a tool used by these criminals to fool unsuspecting consumers, some of them desperate for an elusive cure or remedy, into paying money for worthless and potentially harmful products. At the centre is the patient / consumer and my interest is in using resources as effectively as possible to provide as much protection to our people as we can.

This is where you come in.

As a collaboration of international regulators you are addressing this global problem. With your approach to sharing information, and pooling resources you can generate effective outcomes that have a real benefit in our communities. As you are aware this international enforcement forum is aimed at exchanging information and ideas to foster mutual co-operation in combatting pharmaceutical crime. The inclusion of the International Laboratory Forum on Counterfeit Medicines within the PFIPC brings important scientific and forensic expertise to the arena. You have a comprehensive and interesting programme ahead of you, which includes presentations from: • your colleagues, who are experts in their fields; • industry representatives, who make a valued contribution to the investigation of pharmaceutical crime, and from, • external speakers including from the New Zealand National Drug Intelligence Bureau.

Also included are; discussion groups, planning for this year’s international internet week of action, and the creation of your strategic plan for the next five years. A full agenda indeed.

In New Zealand we are seeking even greater collaboration between enforcement agencies to achieve efficient outcomes. We are a small country with limited resources so our approach in many areas is to do as much as we can through collaboration and cooperation.

With this in mind, the Medsafe Investigation and Enforcement Team works closely with its key stakeholders, the New Zealand Customs Service and the New Zealand Police. The team is justifiably held in high regard for its collaborative working relationships.

I understand that your established communication networks ensure rapid communication and response between your members, ensuring that international action can be taken in an expedient manner at short notice. Your trans-national approach enables you to address a global problem even more effectively. I also understand that contacts made through the PFIPC have been the spark that has ignited several multi-national investigations. I am proud that New Zealand has played a part in those investigations. I also commend you for your collegial engagement with industry. Industry has a stake in how pharmaceutical crime is addressed and mutual interest and collaboration can be an enormous benefit.

I expect the Pharmaceutical Security Institute will provide an effective bridge between the pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. The PSI’s ability to conduct research, gather intelligence, interact with pharmaceutical companies’ investigation divisions, and share this with government enforcement agencies is an essential component in the fight against pharmaceutical and related crimes.

Maintaining the integrity of the New Zealand pharmaceutical supply chain is critical to ensuring that New Zealanders have access to safe medicines. So far New Zealand has been fortunate that counterfeit medicines have not entered our legitimate supply chain. This is partly due to our small population, our isolation and our tight regulatory controls around medicines. However, it is most important that we remain vigilant.

Unfortunately New Zealand is not immune to the rising tide of falsified medicines being sold through the internet. The widespread use of the internet has created an environment for pharmaceutical crime to operate virtually anonymously outside the jurisdiction of individual countries.

Of the 12,000 plus parcels inspected by Medsafe at the International Mail Centre last year, at least 50 percent were believed to be ordered over the internet. Around 30 percent of those medicines were for the treatment of erectile dysfunction indicating that lifestyle medicines are a popular purchase.

Other areas of concern for New Zealand are adulterated medicines. We see regular importations of these for both commercial and personal use. The fact that these are potent medicines masquerading as natural products is a substantial hazard to the purchaser. We operate an adulterated medicines testing program and maintain a database incorporating products that we have tested and product test results from other countries.

Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs) continue to remain a matter of concern with several recent prosecutions in New Zealand. The offenders have imported the active materials, manufactured (in totally inadequate conditions) injectable products and tablets, and then sold these products. In one investigation PIEDs with a street value in excess of one million dollars were seized.

Medsafe’s involvement is sought after by the Police for its expertise and advice in this arena.

Education is an important preventative avenue that Medsafe pursues, including the provision of articles for medical professionals’ publications highlighting the risks of medicine ordered online. It also conducts training for NZ Customs staff.

One of the objectives that Medsafe has for this meeting is to gain ideas and insights from you as to how we in New Zealand can continue to keep our supply chain safe, and also ways to increase awareness of the risk posed by pharmaceutical crime to the public and other government agencies. I look forward to you contributing to these objectives.

Your input is particularly important as we have commenced a process of modernising our therapeutic products legislation and we recognise the importance of ensuring a sound regulatory scheme backed by robust enforcement measures. As much as possible, we would like to future-proof the new legislation to accommodate changing trends in product types, distribution channels and ways of delivering health care; and at the same time take account of ways these can be exploited through criminal activity.

Medsafe is committed to keeping abreast of the issues surrounding pharmaceutical crime. New Zealand’s membership with the PFIPC keeps Medsafe informed on current issues and there is a ready source of assistance only an email away.

I thank you for that assistance.

It is also important that our staff have the skills to address this problem. I am exceedingly grateful to Dan Burke from the United States Food and Drug Administration who is staying on in New Zealand next week to conduct the two day Open Source Internet Training for staff from Medsafe, Ministry of Health, Police and Customs. This will equip our staff with the most current skill set, which will allow them to be even more effective in the global fight against pharmaceutical crime.

Edmund Burke said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I am grateful that this room is full of good men and women who are dedicated to their work and committed to working in collaboration so that together we can effectively address pharmaceutical crime. I thank you for your service.

Eric, I particularly want to thank you for suggesting that Australia and New Zealand co-host this meeting and for graciously suggesting that the meeting takes place in Auckland. This meeting would not have happened without your contribution. As always, I am grateful for the close relationship between our two countries.

On behalf of the hosts, I hope that you have a productive meeting and a wonderful stay in New Zealand. Our country is a land of great beauty and diversity. I trust that you will find time to explore, meet our friendly inhabitants, and that you take home wonderful memories of your time here.




Malaysia named Medical Travel Destination of the Year

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s medical tourism received a boost when the country was named “Medical Travel Destination of the Year” at the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards 2015 in London. 
Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board said in a statement on Friday that the country won the award based on all-round excellence in promoting inbound medical tourism, verified statistics of yearly growth in medical tourists served, evidence of high levels of patient satisfaction and coordinated activities that delivered an increase in medical tourism.
Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) chief executive officer Sherene Azura Azli was at the ceremony last week to receive the award. MHTC was established in 2009 under the Health Ministry to develop and promote the nation’s healthcare travel industry.
Private hospitals in the country received several awards during the event, namely Excellence in Customer Service (Gleneagles Hospital, Kuala Lumpur), Best Quality Initiative of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Centre), Best Travel Website of the Year (Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare), International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year (Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre), and International Dental Clinic of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Centre).
Besides that, two hospitals also came in as the most highly commended hospitals. They are Imperial Dental Specialist Centre for its travel website and Prince Court Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur for its customer service.
In 2014, during the inaugural IMTJ Medical Travel Awards, Malaysia’s private hospitals swept three out of nine awards, i.e. International Hospital of the Year (Gleneagles, Kuala Lumpur), International Dental Clinic of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Clinic, Kuala Lumpur) and International Infertility Clinic of the Year (Prince Court Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur).