Monthly Archives: October 2018

Nurofen ran ‘misleading and deceptive’ campaign against Panadol

“Nurofen is better than paracetamol for common headaches,” declared the advertisements in women’s lifestyle magazines.
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The Federal Court has found that claim to be misleading and deceptive, after two pharmaceutical giants went head-to-head in a two-year legal battle.

GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Panadol???, alleged Nurofen’s manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser???, ran an advertising campaign saying Nurofen was faster and more effective than Panadol, or paracetamol, despite there being no scientific evidence to support it.

The advertisements, also shown on television in 2015, included a graph with a bright red line above a dull green line, illustrating what was said to be Nurofen’s superior performance over paracetamol.

The claim was based on a single clinical trial in 1996, which found that a dose of ibuprofen???, the active ingredient in Nurofen, was more effective than a single dose of paracetamol in the treatment of muscle contraction headaches.

Two other studies did not replicate those findings, and subsequent analyses found there was little difference between the two drugs in the treatment of tension-type headaches, the court heard.

It was not clear whether the initial clinical trial used the commercial formulas of the drug.

“In my view, it is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive consumers in Australia for Reckitt to claim that ibuprofen (Nurofen) provides faster and more effective relief from pain caused by common headaches … than does paracetamol (Panadol),” Federal Court judge Lindsay Foster said.

The judge granted a permanent injunction, barring Reckitt Benckiser from making those or similar claims, and for the company to pay GlaxoSmithKline’s legal costs.

Less than a year ago, Reckitt Benckiser was ordered to pay a $6 million corporate penalty, the highest ever issued for misleading conduct under the Australian Consumer Law, over its specific pain relief range.

The latest case also gave insight into the over-the-counter pain relief market in Australia, with evidence it was worth $580 million in the year ending August 2015.

GlaxoSmithKline said it makes more than 50 million Panadol packets a year, and five million bottles of the baby range.

Their research showed that consumers bought over-the-counter pain medications roughly every two months, and that a third of consumers buy both paracetamol and ibuprofen products based on different needs, new medical conditions, or in-store displays.

Market research before the court said that a “fast acting” medication was the most important need for consumers suffering headaches or migraines.

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Investors uneasy after bond spike

This week’s spike in 10-year US treasury yields appeared to take markets by surprise and left some investors wondering if the move is a foretaste of a more volatile year to come for global asset markets.
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The yield for 10-year US treasuries climbed to a 10-month high of 2.59 per cent on Wednesday before retreating to a more palatable level later in the day.

The move hit stock markets as well, with US markets on Wednesday snapping a winning streak that started at the beginning of the year and Australian stocks falling for two straight sessions.

Ian Martin, chief investment officer of Australian Corporate Bond Company, said that the spike in 10-year US treasury yields was initially triggered by the Bank of Japan buying fewer bonds than expected earlier this week.

Later reports indicating that China is looking less favourably on US Treasuries gave US 10-year yields another push higher, he said. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

The Bank of Japan’s lacklustre bond-buying effort appeared to trigger broader worries about the implications for markets when the massive bond-buying programs launched after the global financial crisis by central banks to support the global economy eventually come to an end.

“The market is trying to understand the end of quantitative easing and what that will look like,” Mr Martin said.

“People are now looking for the turning point. They are trying to work out what happens when this long bull run ends,” he said.

Along with the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank has also been buying massive amounts of bonds, noted Antipodes deputy portfolio manager Sunny Bangia, while pointing out that Greek bonds are now yielding less than Chinese bonds.

“That’s telling you how aggressive the buying has been in Europe and a similar thing has been happening in Japan,” he said.

Europe and Japan have been bond buyers “at any price”, he said, adding that the two central banks have succeeded in sucking supply from their domestic markets.

Given the distortions that central bank buying appear to have created in the bond markets, “we think that moves in bond markets could potentially be more violent than investors are anticipating”, he said.

“That will impact our market through increased volatility.”

Infrastructure firms that have been benefiting from low interest rates have become well priced and could be vulnerable at these levels, he said.

“We feel that’s been a big part of where investors have been hiding in Australia,” he said.

The tick higher in US bonds this week came as investors were already trying to factor in the implications for US tax reform and signs that economic growth is improving in a synchronised fashion around the world.

Broadly, central banks are becoming more comfortable with growth, said Mr Bangia. “Don’t expect the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan to buy bonds forever,” he said.

Mr Martin pointed out that the sell-off this week in the bond market took place at the long end of the interest rate curve rather than the shorter end, which, in Australia, is anchored to the Australian central bank.

“The market pricing for rate expectations from the RBA is basically unchanged from where it was at the end of last year,” he said.

Friday’s data on US consumer inflation will be the next important data point for markets, he added.

Morgan Stanley strategists said that they believe that the shape of the yield curve continues to loom in the back of equity investors’ minds.

“The flatter shape than what would have been expected in a world that has seen the Fed raise rates three times in 12 months has an equity market on the lookout for both behind-the-curve dynamics (if inflation surprises) or conversely a move into inversion.

“With the US 10-year yield again approaching a three-year resistance level of 2.60 per cent, this week’s US CPI and reaction may tell us much about valuation sentiment for equities,” they said.

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Wanderers sign Argentinian playmaker

Argentinian playmaker Marcelo Carrusca has signed with Western Sydney Wanderers for the rest of the 2017-18 A-League season after being granted a release from Melbourne City on Thursday afternoon.
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The 34-year-old creative midfielder becomes the first signing of new Wanderers coach Josep Gombau, with whom he will be reunited after spending two seasons playing under the Spaniard at Adelaide United.

Carrusca rose to fame in Australia during his five seasons with the Reds, scoring 25 goals from 114 appearances for Adelaide and winning the 2016 A-League grand final at the expense of Western Sydney.

He left Adelaide at the end of last season to join Melbourne City but struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular under the tenure of Warren Joyce, making only three brief appearances. Melbourne City announced Carrusca departed by mutual consent on Thursday before being announced as a Western Sydney Wanderers’ player shortly after when the club confirmed his arrival with a brief announcement.

Carrusca was a regular for Argentinian club Estudiantes before joining Galatasaray in Turkey and Mexican giants,Cruz Azul. He is a former Argentinian youth international and teammate of the likes of Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta.

He will not take up a visa spot at the Wanderers, having spent five seasons with Adelaide United and becoming an Australian citizen last year, and will be eligible to play in Sunday’s away match against Wellington Phoenix. Carrusca’s arrival relieves pressure on the Wanderers, whose midfield depth was to be tested this weekend with Alvaro Cejudo injured, Chris Herd suspended and Keanu Baccus away with the Australia Under-23s squad.

His signing means Western Sydney still have one free visa-player spot up their sleeve, which they are likely to use to sign a foreign winger during the January transfer window. It’s understood Wanderers are in talks to sign a winger from the Spanish second division.

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Plan for a good pregnancy

LOOK AHEAD: Dr Michelle Redford, from Blackbutt Doctors Surgery, says planning for pregnancy is all about knowing where you’re at and what options you have.A ‘pre-pregnancy check-up’ with your GP is a great way to arm yourself with the right information to ensure a happy and healthy baby.
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“For the vast majority, having a baby is the greatest experience of their life, but knowing where you’re at and what options you have is important,” Dr Michelle Redford from Blackbutt Doctors Surgery said.

At a pre-pregnancy planning consultation, a GPwill ask about things that could affect your pregnancy.

“For instance, he or she might ask about your diet, lifestyle, use of birth control, past pregnancies, medicines, and any diseases that you have or that run in your family,” Dr Redford said.“A GP will look at medications, ask about family history, discuss weight issues, talk about vaccines, lifestyle, work –anything that can impact.

“We have a standard approach but it is individualised to take account of individual needs – like same sex partnership, cultural considerations etc.

“People are usually very motivated and it can be a great way to get in touch with your health.”

Things a GP will discuss with youbefore you try to get pregnant:

Any medicines or herbal drugs you take and whether you you need to make changesAre you up to date on vaccinesTaking a multivitamin that has at least 500 micrograms offolateKnow which foods you should avoid and which foods are bestStop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs not prescribed for you by a doctorUnderstand the risks to you and your baby:

If you have any medical conditionsIf there are diseases that run in your family or your partner’s familyIf there are any harmful substances in your home or workTry to reach a healthy weightGenetic counselling

If you have had a child with a genetic disorder, a family history of genetic disorders, or if you’re aged over 35 you are at a higher risk of disorders likeDown’s syndrome, thalassaemia andcystic fibrosis.“We work with Hunter Genetics here in Newcastle. Their counsellors can advise about genetic risk and help couples make informed decisions moving forward,” Dr Redford said.

Healthy lifestyle

Being overweight is a risk factor for things like miscarriage and gestational diabetesYour partner’s health is as important as yours in the pre-conception period.“Your GP canhelp you develop a healthy lifestyle andexercise schedule,” Dr Redford said. “We can also look out for mental health issues like anxiety and depressionto manage these effectively.”

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short story competition 2018: Best in the State

WORTH 1000 WORDS: Each day we will publish a finalist in the Herald short storycompetition. The winner will be announced on January 27. Picture: Simone De PeakThe newspaper cutting is yellowed and brittle with age. We’d just won “Best Sausage in the State”when I stuck it up inside the shop window.
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About 10 years ago that would’ve been.

When I take it down, some stays put beneath the tape. Although the picture’s faded I can still make us out: me, Bobbie and Frank, my apprentice. Frank’s standing on my left with Bobbie, the pup at his feet.

There’s a brown mark across Frank’s chest. Blood, maybe. And, woofta, there’s that punch in my solar plexus again.

The bell on the screen door jingles. I fold the cutting and shove it under the counter.

“Bobbie’s looking poorly,”says old China as he shuffles to the counter.

I nod.

“Picked up after the vet operated,”I say.“But, no, not himself today.”

“Did yer ever find out exactly what happened?”

“Your guess is good as mine, mate,”I reply. “Hit by some car or truck, I reckon.”

“Fancy them leaving the poor beggar for dead. And with that gaping hole in his belly and all.”

I wrap China’s mince and slap the parcel on the counter-top. After he’s gone, I unsheathe a knife, give it a quick sharpen and slice up some sirloin on the butcher’s block.

I recall the first day I saw Bobbie. During the war it was. Ribs stuck out like elbows. Coat dirty grey instead of white, totally matted. His head seemed too heavy for him; bobbed up and down as he limped along the footpath toward the shop. Think Frank might’ve christened him Bobbie. Anyways, the name stuck.

When Frank gave him a sausage I growled.

“Don’t go feedin’ that mutt the profits,”I said.

Frank shrugged. And that mongrel pup wolfed down that sausage. From then on the little beggar would be waiting outside every morning, bang on eight. Out would go Frank and feed him a sausage. I’d scowl and grumble but it fell on deaf ears; Frank was a right sucker for Bobbie’s pleading brown eyes.

“I’ll dock the cost from your wages,”I said.

And what was Frank’s response? Chatted away to Bobbie. Patted him. Scratched his belly. Flamin’ soppy as the dog.

“Hello,”chimes a voice across the counter.

“Oh, didn’t hear you come in, Mrs Steel,”I say, wiping my hands on my apron. “Miles away, I was.”

“Wonder you didn’t hear the bell,” she says, nose wrinkling at the smell of meat and sawdust. “How’s Bobbie?”

“Bit off today,”I explain with a grimace. “Anyways, what can I get for you?”

“Give me half-a-pound of those prize-winning sausages of yours.”

I think of the clipping under the counter and blood pumps into my face.

Mrs Steel stows the sausages in her string bag.

“Hope Bobbie picks up,”she says as she leaves.

The screen door slaps behind her. I take out the cutting again. It splits along the fold. Starts to fall apart. I spread it out on the counter and think back to when it was printed.

As proprietor of the butcher’s shop I got all the accolades for that winning sausage. I puffed up like bread dough; you can see from the photograph how full of myself I got. But it was Frank.

Frank came up with the recipe for that sausage. I told him to keep his trap shut. He looked at me like … like he somehow pitied me.

Worse still, when he got his call up for the army, I actually breathed a sigh of relief.

Even went along to the station and waved him off when he shipped out. Imagine that.

Course, Bobbie pined his heart out. Didn’t eat for days. When he started again the entire town spoiled him rotten with tidbits. But weirdest thing, you know: after Frank left for the war, Bobbie refused to take a single sausage from me. Not a one. Nine years on. Still hasn’t.

Instead of ditching the cutting in the bin I take it out back and bury it among some paraphernalia in a drawer. Then I fetch a sausage, just on the off chance and go outside to check on Bobbie. He’s lying on his old khaki blanket. He looks up with … I dunno … sad eyes.

I kneel down and break the end of the sausage open. Squeeze out a bit of the meat to make it easier for the old fella. And lo and behold, Bobbie sniffs at it. Then instead of laying his head down on his paws like he’s done all those years since Frank left, he cocks his head on one side and licks the sausage meat.

“Good boy,”I say. “Have a bite, mate. Have a bite.”

And blow me down. He gobbles down the whole darn thing. I pat his head. Scratch behind his ear.

“That’s the way, boy,” I say. “Couple more of Frank’s sausages and you’ll be up and about again.”

He looks up at me. Bit fanciful maybe, but his eyes are sort of smiling.

Back inside the shop, my chest feels twice its usual size; has to contain my heart somehow. When young Miss Lawson comes in for her lamb chops, I’m whistling … It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. Miss Lawson purses her lips and does a little shimmy.

“That for the good-looking soldier out the front?”she asks.

“Huh? What soldier?”

“The one outside with Bobbie.”

I fling open the flap in the counter. It bangs against the wall. Two strides and I’ve crossed the shop floor. I practically yank the screen door off its hinges and leap down both steps at once.

I stare up the street toward one end. Spin around and stare up toward the other end. Twice. Three times.

There’s not a single person in sight.

I crouch down alongside Bobbie. Reach out to scratch the back of his head. I gaze back up the street, just on the off chance, but I know Bobbie’s spirit has already left.

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