WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
MOVES by the EU to protect
Southport residents from counterfeit medicines have been welcomed by
a local Euro-MP.
The risks of buying medicines on the internet are well known, but
now fake drugs are also finding their way into chemist shops and
According to the European Commission, criminals are targeting
life-saving and highly profitable medicines used to treat cancer,
heart disease, psychiatric disorders and infections. Latest data
shows counterfeit medicines penetrating the legal supply chain in
It is feared that the £10 billion trade could be responsible for
half a million deaths worldwide each year. More than 2.7 million
counterfeit medicines were seized at EU customs borders in 2006, up
almost 400% on 2005.
The fakes are virtually indistinguishable from the genuine tablets
and criminal gangs are so sophisticated that they buy the same
packaging equipment as drug companies.
Some counterfeit medicines have no active ingredients at all and
others have much higher doses than is safe. Counterfeit medicines
tested by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
have been found to contain traces of brick dust and rat poison.
Britain is a prime target for the counterfeiters as medicine prices
are high compared with other EU countries. But most people in the UK
are unaware of the scale of the problem.
A study last year found that only 19% of
Britons felt there was a growing risk from counterfeit medicines
compared to three quarters of Europeans as a whole.
The complexity and fractured nature of the distribution system in
the EU and regulatory loopholes offer the opportunist means to
access Europe's legitimate supply chain.
But now the European Commission has launched an enquiry to look at
ways to combat the problem. European Commission President Jose
Manuel Barroso says that criminal sanctions should be applied, with
EU member states adopting minimum sentences including fines,
confiscation of assets and closure of premises.
North West Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Chris Davies sits on the public
health committee in the European Parliament and has welcomed the
news of a proposed crackdown on the counterfeiters.
He said:- "Counterfeiters selling these drugs are putting
people's lives in danger out of sheer greed. The fact they can gain
access to legitimate chemists and hospitals is frightening."
Internet security experts believe that nearly 25% of all emails, 15
billion messages a day, are spam advertising drugs. According to the
World Health Organisation more than half of all medicines offered by
websites are fakes.
£1.8 million investment
for Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum
Regional Development Agency (NWDA) was pleased to announce, on 15
April 2008, an investment of £1.8 million in the International
Slavery Museum, which will enable National Museums Liverpool to take
forward its ambitious plans for the development of the attraction.
The funding will help the International Slavery Museum to extend
into the historic Grade I listed Dock Traffic Office adjacent to its
current location within the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The building
will be home to an extended exhibition space as well as a new
research space for the museum, a public archive, learning suite, and
a community zone.
The Dock Traffic Office will become the ‘front door’
of the International Slavery Museum, linking to the existing
galleries via a glass bridge at high level.
James Berresford, Director of Tourism at the Northwest Regional
Development Agency (NWDA), said:- “The International Slavery
Museum is a unique tourism asset for the region. Through this
investment the NWDA is recognising the potential that the attraction
has to further enhance the visitor experience of Liverpool and the
Albert Dock; this development will mean that the Museum is better
positioned to attract an even bigger and more diverse audience and
it will raise the profile of the city as a distinctive and
culturally exciting place to visit.”
Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, said:-
“The success of the International Slavery Museum so far can be
measured by over 200,000 people that have visited since we opened in
August 2007. The support from the Northwest Regional Development
Agency will help take the museum to a new level, developing new
facilities to continue its work as thought-provoking, stimulating
Download Review:- "Testing 4oD" (Channel 4 on Demand)
I always thought
the BBC's online catch up service was good, but a pain to install,
but this week we took a look at Channel 4's new 4oD. If you want to
view a C4 program online, then you must install this program.
Installing it is a fun task but do not think it will work straight
away. Even with a dual core processor, lots of RAM and a very good
ADSL connection, you will be waiting some time for it to work, if it
works at all...
The program is very chunky
and far too flaky compared to the BBC's system. The 4oD Software
does not take into account what operating system you are running,
and as you have to down load it to view C4 programs, unlike the
BBC's system, older computers might not run it at all!
The search for information
for the programs is not easy to follow either. I typed in a simple
thing, "Time Team Liverpool" to see what would happen.
Sadly, the system did not find the program, also the results is did
display were not even in date order, in fact not in any logical
order that I could see at all. The other annoying thing is it
adds itself all over the place, something Realplayer was once
I have to comment that
whereas I said, in my recent revue that the BBC's system is the way
forward for TV, I do hope this is not the only progression for
terrestrial based independent stations. 4 on Demand is a very big
Considering Channel Four,
up to recently, has been seen as one of the more innovate of all the
UK Terrestrial channels, it shocks me how far back and how dated
their system is and how hard it is to use! I would love to know what
our reader's think.
Email us at
Read our review about the BBC's new
iPlayer by clicking
£8.7 million training
award from NWDA to Vauxhall Car Plant gets European seal of approval
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR)
and the Vauxhall Motors Executive have worked very closely with the
EC following their announcement of an in-depth investigation into
the proposal that commenced in July 2007, to ensure that there was
no breach of EC Treaty state aid rules.
The Commission is now completely satisfied that the grant will be
used for additional training and will not simply subsidise that
which Vauxhall would have already provided without any aid. It will
ensure training goes beyond the basics training necessary for
Vauxhall's operations but will position the plant staff at the very
forefront of world-class capability.
Significantly, the award also supports the future of the plant
following the successful bid to secure the next generation Astra
just last year.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said:- “The
approval from the EU confirms that the Agency will help to provide
funding for training that really will make a difference.
The staff and management have worked hard to secure the next
generation Astra and we will help them to ensure the workforce is
trained to the highest standards going forward, The plant at
Ellesmere Port has an established history of producing utomotive
quality and now it has a future at the forefront of new production.
The Agency and its partners have invested considerable efforts in
achieving this result and will continue to work very closely with
Vauxhall as it enters this exciting time."
A spokesman from General Motors UK Ltd. commented:- “We argued
consistently throughout this inquiry that, without NWDA funding,
this training would not happen. With the EU’s approval, we are now
in a position to implement a comprehensive programme that will
benefit not just the workers at the plant, but the North West region
as a whole.”
The automotive sector is of paramount importance to the economy in
the Northwest fostering 450 local automotive companies and employing
43,000 people. It generates an annual business turnover of £9
billion while the automotive supply base exports 60% of its products
- twice the UK national average.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented:- “Our
investigation has shown that the aid will add real value to
Vauxhall's ambitious training programme.
I am pleased to approve aid
which will make a genuine contribution to the skills and
competitiveness of European car workers."