China bans sale of GlaxoSmithKline drug
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is launching an investigation into its antibiotic drug Augmentin after it was recalled in China.
China ordered the recall after tests showed that Augmentin contained traces of diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), something which is used to improve the flexibility of plastics.
This comes just days after GSK enhanced its presence in China with a £24million deal which has seen it take full control of Shenzhen GSK-Neputnus Biologicals, an influenza vaccine maker.
Last week, Hong Kong also ordered a recall of Augmentin after findings showed that there were unsafe levels of DIDP in antibiotic syrup which is produced in a French GSK factory.
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Augmentin is most commonly prescribed to children to treat infections and last year GSK’s sales of various forms of the drug totalled £291million.
In a statement a company spokesperson said: “GSK is currently in discussion with a number of regulatory agencies in the Asia Pacific region, some of whom have also conducted tests.”
“The amount of phthalates identified as present in Augmentin syrup samples tested is very low; some tests have found none and the highest level reported by the authorities is 88 parts per million.”
“Even this highest result is significantly lower than the levels that the US and European authorities deem as presenting no risk to humans.”
GSK is the latest drug company to have its products recalled because of fears.
Hong Kong has also exercised a ban on certain Taiwanese drinks after they were also found to be tainted with a plasticiser.
There has now been a huge recall of drinks in Taiwan; approximately half a million bottles of fruit juices and sports drinks.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!