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462 cases of Zika-linked virus confirmed in Brazil

More than 400 cases of microcephaly, a condition linked to the Zika virus, have been confirmed in Brazil and thousands more are being investigated.

The country said it had 462 confirmed cases of microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.

It is investigating a further 3,852 cases of the condition.


GSK fined £37.6m over deals to stifle drug competition

GlaxoSmithKline has been fined £37.6 million for striking deals with potential rivals to delay their launch of generic copies of its drug for anxiety disorders and depression.

GlaxoSmithKline has been under investigation since 2011 in a case dubbed 'pay-for-delay'. Credit: PA Wire

The Competition Market Authority's Michael Grenfell told ITV News that GSK's actions had inflated the price of the antidepressant Seroxat and cost the NHS and taxpayer.

GSK argued its actions had brought down the cost of medicine for the NHS.

The drugmaker said it strongly disagreed with the regulator's fine for market abuse and was considering grounds for appeal.

Other drug companies involved were also fined smaller amounts, bringing the total fines issued by the CMA to £45 million.

E-cigarette warning for pregnant women

Credit: PA

Pregnant women who smoke may harm their babies' brain development if they turn to e-cigarettes to satisfy their nicotine craving, scientists have warned.

New research suggests that e-cigarette vapour may be as damaging as tobacco smoke to the nervous systems of the foetus or newborn infant.

Early findings, based on studies of mice, show that exposure to volatile chemicals from the devices disrupts the activity of thousands of genes in the developing frontal cortex, the brain region responsible for higher mental functions.


Anger as junior doctors' contract to be imposed

Junior doctors in England protesting against the terms of a new contract have warned the imposition of the contracts could result in "a haemorrhage" of doctors out of the country.

Video report by ITV News' Political Editor Robert Peston

But the health secretary has stood firm on his decision. Speaking to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, Jeremy Hunt said it is "not tenable" for him to give in to a union "if it's the wrong thing for patients".

In this situation we have had too much evidence for too long, that things are going wrong too often at weekends at our hospitals, so I have to do something about that.

– Jeremy Hunt, health secretary

A number of junior doctors joining the protest outside the Department of Health in London on Thursday said there was a serious danger of the highly trained medical professionals leaving the UK for countries such as Australia and Canada.

"If i could I probably would at this stage - I feel so backed into a corner", one said.

Another warned "Imposing something is just going to completely demoralise the workforce and result in a haemorrhage of young intelligent doctors out of this country".

Nine NHS bosses withdraw support for Hunt over imposition of junior doctors' contracts

Nine health trust bosses have withdrawn their support for Jeremy Hunt's plan for new junior doctors' contracts in England after it was announced they were to be introduced despite the failure to reach an agreement with the British Medical Association

Protesters out in force over the junior doctors contract row today Credit: ITV News

The names of 20 NHS bosses in England were attached to a letter advising the government to do "whatever it deems necessary" to break the deadlock with medics.

Now at least nine say they never supported the idea of forcing junior doctors to accept new contracts and did not back the Health Secretary's move.

One said she was not even aware her name was on the letter and had asked for it to be removed.

A number say they support the Government's contract offer but do not back doctors having to accept it.

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was imposing the contract Credit: ITV News

Claire Murdoch, head of the Central and North West London NHS FT, said she was not aware that her name was on the letter until it was published, and immediately asked for it to be removed.

Sir Andrew Cash, head of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (FT), said: "I support the improved offer made this week as fair and reasonable, but I do not support imposition".

Andrew Foster, of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS FT, said: "I have not supported contract imposition. I have supported the view that the offer made is reasonable."

Junior doctor says new contract is 'just not safe'

As protesters continue to make themselves heard outside the Department of Health, junior doctors have been digesting the news that the controversial new contract proposed by the health secretary will be forced upon them.

One junior A&E doctor, who previously said he didn't want to strike but said "the future of the NHS depends on it", now says "this demonstrates exactly the sort of negotiations that have been on offer."

Despite the advice and the protestations of thousands of the country's leading medical experts, some of their own advisers and some of their own politicians, Jeremy Hunt has today decided that he is going to impose his version of this contract.

– Dr Amar Mashru

Dr Mashru adds that it is "just not safe" to "take services that are already stretched, and spread them even thinner".

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