WHO: „Die Tabakindustrie schlägt zurück – härter und auf jedem Kanal“

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Where there's a habit...

Credit: Just Ard, Flickr

Die Mitgliedstaaten der Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO) haben in Moskau über weitere Schritte zur Tabakregulierung verhandelt – und beklagen heftige Gegenwehr der Konzerne. „Während die Durchsetzung der Rahmenkonvention weiter fortschreitet, schlägt die Tabakindustrie zurück – härter und auf jedem möglichen Kanal, egal wie hinterhältig diese Kanäle und Praktiken seien“, sagte die Generaldirektorin der WHO Margaret Chan in ihrer Eröffnungsrede.

Bei den Verhandlungen in der vergangenen Woche ging es unter anderem um E-Zigaretten. Laut WHO werden viele der einst unabhängigen Hersteller heute von multinationalen Tabakfirmen kontrolliert. Wie die Unternehmen um die Anerkennung der E-Zigarette kämpft, hat mir Martina Pötschke-Langer vom Deutschen Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) erklärt (Spiegel Online).

Die Mitgliedstaaten haben ungeachtet dessen entschieden, E-Zigaretten ähnlich stark zu regulieren wie Tabakzigaretten, teilte die WHO in ihrer Pressemitteilung mit. Die Entscheidung verpflichtet die Staaten, darunter Deutschland, allerdings nicht Maßnahmen zu ergreifen.

Laut einer aktuellen Umfrage des DKFZ probieren vor allem Jugendliche die E-Zigarette aus (Spiegel Online). Das beliebteste Mittel für einen Rauchstopp bleibt hingegen der kalte Entzug.

Without approved medication against Ebola, new WHO panel to decide on ethics of distribution and risks of experimental treatment

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Evidence based medicine won’t help us this time: It is the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in history and there is no approved medication against the filovirus infection.

A new WHO panel is to decide on who gets experimental drugs against Ebola infection. Sounds risky? It is. Not just out of medical reasons, as The Conversation-columnist Carwyn Hooper shows.

The WHO panel has to come up with an answer especially for this question:

If it is ethical to use these unregistered interventions […], then what criteria should guide the choice of the intervention and who should receive priority for treatment or prevention?

Ethical questions already on the table
The Ebola outbreak grossly depicts the inequality in healthcare systems. In Liberia (and other West African states) healthcare institutions are overstretched as reports BBC. Hospitals in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia remain closed for days. The death toll in West Africa rises.

Meanwhile in the Western World: A patient in Spain and two Americans have been treated with a biomedical treatment based on monoclonal antibodies. At least the two American patients are reported to show signs of improvement.

The Conversation’s Carwyn Hooper is not very optimistic about the big picture outcome of the panel:

„Whatever recommendations the ethics panel come up with the underpinning ethical issue – the gross inequality of global wealth, health and healthcare – will not be addressed.“

Measuring the Ebola outbreak: How deadly is the virus this time?

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The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa is reportedly the worst outbreak of the disease in history. More than 1300 people are infected and more than 700 have died. What do these numbers tell us about the death rate? Actually, very little.

As for the death rate the WHO stated in an April press release a general death rate of „up to 90 %“ for the virus. Since the virus has been registered for the first time in 1976 the death rate has varied from 25 to 90 percent (outbreaks with more than ten infected people). But what’s the picture right now for West Africa? Here are the current numbers as published yesterday.

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