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Also in the press

Ministers investigate cost-effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine; and statins as mass medication

Monday, 21 May 2012


Ministers have requested a cost-effectiveness analysis of vaccinating all babies against rotavirus, a leading cause of hospital admissions for the under-fives, reported Saturday's Daily Telegraph (p12), adding the vaccine has been around for years but universal vaccination for infants had not been offered on cost grounds.

The newspaper described how rotavirus can be a major cause of diarrhoea and there were around 130,000 cases annually in England, with almost 13,000 admitted to hospital.

Vaccine companies have been invited to submit bids by the Department of Health so that it can assess if it would be cost effective to introduce a rotavirus vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme. The bids would cover vaccinations for an estimated 800,000 infants, the Telegraph said.


Janice Turner in The Times (p25) on Saturday debated the use of statins as mass medication.

A cynical Turner wondered whether the drive to make statins available over the counter in Britain is linked to Pfizer, which produces Lipitor (atorvastatin), and Merck, which makes the most frequently used British statin simvastatin, losing their patent protection for these drugs.

Turner questioned whether mass medication for the over-50s with statins was "preventative medicine" or "lunatic over-prescription" and offered an open-ended conclusion, asking: "what is the sceptical mind to do?" The Sunday Times (p20) provided further coverage on the matter, laying out both sides of the argument.

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