Health & Lifesciences Talking Points 20-04-2016


Bulk billing incentives for pathologists to be scrapped on ay before election, Sussan Ley says
Federal Health Minister Susan Ley, has stated that she will continue to pursue the implementation of a policy that will dispose of the current bulk billing incentives for pathologists, regardless if the date of implementation is one day prior to the July 2nd election. The policy change is facing stern resistance from both the Opposition Party and pathologists, with the pathologists arguing that the change may ‘dissuade patients from having medical tests’.  The Federal Government is firm in its stance, arguing that is a sensible, measured health policy, that would accumulate $650 million over four years.  Click here for the full article.

“Sugary drink tax” would save lives and raise money: Australian research
Updates on Sugar Tax have come out, with research conducted by the Obesity Policy coalition (OPC) suggesting that a 20 percent tax on sugary drinks in Australia could be highly beneficial to both the Australian government and the people. Through monetarily discouraging the consumption of sugary drinks, the OPC estimates that within the first 25 years of implementing this tax type 2 diabetes cases could be reduced by as much as 16,000, as well as lessening the risk of heart disease by 4,400 cases and strokes by 1,100. Furthermore, the decreased consumption will reduce government spending on the healthcare sector, as well as increase government revenue- with estimations suggesting that it would generate as much as 360 million U.S dollars over 25 years. Similar tactics used for tobacco control were successful in curbing consumption.  Click here for the full article.

Chinese crack Zika virus NS1 protein structure
Chinese scientists claim to have unlocked the structure of the Zika virus NS1 protein, which would most likely result in the development of a vaccine. The virus, spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito has reached pandemic levels since 2015, with most cases originating in South America. It is also linked to increased risk of microcephaly amongst newborns with infected mothers. Associate research fellow from the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shi Yi, says the protein, which also exists in other viruses of the flavivirus genus, has two functions. The first function works to eradicate the virus from the human body, and the second function utilises it’s generation of antibodies establish autoimmune diseases and locate vaccine solutions. Although more research development is required, the team have not only worked out the protein’s molecular structure but also how it engages wit the host upon infection. At this stage, the development is a promising step for vaccine development and those involved like Yi say it’s important to inform the public of these developments as they occur. Click here for the full article.

Luye Medical Group says Australian Healthcare is in top shape
China’s Luye Medical Group has concluded that Australia’s private healthcare system is a current global leader perfect for investment. This comes after completing a $938 million acquisition of Australia’s third-largest private hospital group, Healthe Care. CFO Mr. Charles Wang has said Australia has the perfect balance between private and public, noting that in looking to expand outside of Asia, Australia represents Luye’s first venture. Wang also stated that trends in Australia were indicating a growing trend towards private healthcare, and mentioned Chinese healthcare reforms aligning more with Western models. This acquisition is an important one for growing China-Australia relations in the health sector and Luye chairman Liu Dian Bo will meet NSW Health Minister ­Jillian Skinner in Shanghai on Saturday to discuss further plans. Click here for the full article.