News in brief: Mortality benefit of antifibrotics in IPF; ATS slams inhaler move by Big Tobacco; Mandatory vax needed for all hospital staff

Tuesday, 20 Jul 2021

Mortality benefit of antifibrotics in IPF

Antifibrotic treatment appears to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and acute exacerbation in patients with IPF.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence, comprising 12,956 patients across 26 studies, found antifibrotic treatment was associated with decreased risk of all-cause mortality with a pooled RR 0.55.

The meta-analysis found pirfenidone and nintedanib had similar effects on mortality with benefit seen in studies with both short and long-term follow-up out to 10 years.

Antifibrotic treatment also reduced the risk of acute exacerbations with a pooled RR of 0.63.

“However, pirfenidone effect on AE risk appeared less robust,” the investigators said.


ATS slams inhaler move by Big Tobacco

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) and American Lung Association have castigated the move by tobacco giant Philip Morris International to acquire Vectura, a British inhaled medicine company.

While Philip Morris spruikes its “smoke-free, not risk-free” future, the hypocrisy of a tobacco company also involved in the development of inhaled medicines is making many organisations splutter.

“The announcement that Philip Morris International (PMI) wants to acquire an inhaled medicine company is the latest reprehensible choice from a company that has profited from addicting users to its deadly products,” the American Lung Association and ATS presidents said.

“We are deeply concerned that PMI will use the inhalation services technologies developed by Vectura to make their tobacco products more addictive. We are also deeply troubled that this company could further profit from the disease their products have caused by now selling therapies to the same people who were sickened by smoking PMI cigarettes.”

They said they were disappointed with the board of Vectura and urged shareholders to reject the sale or the British government to intervene.

Mandatory vaccination needed for all hospital staff

The Morrison government is being urged to make vaccinations compulsory for all hospital staff across Australia and have a roll out plan to provide vaccine every hospital worker.

The peak body representing Catholic not-for-profit hospitals, Catholic Health Australia (CHA), says the Federal government already has a mandatory vaccination scheme for aged care and should put in place a similar scheme for all hospital staff across Australia, public and private.

CHA says its hospitals are already redeploying unvaccinated staff to clinical areas where there is a lower risk of contact with COVID patients and vaccinating staff as and when Commonwealth supplies become available.

“Every year health care staff are required to get vaccinated against the flu and yet there’s no such directive for COVID,” said CHA’s Health Policy Director James Kemp.

National Cabinet should bring in a uniform rule for mandatory COVID vaccination for hospital staff – regardless of whether they work in ED, ICU or any other clinical or support position, he added.

“The high transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID is putting workers and the people they care for at greater risk as well as putting extra strain on staff,” he said

Mr Kemp said: “Every worker should have a date in their diary to get vaccinated. Every dose that comes into the country should have a hospital worker’s name next to it.”

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