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Are We Losing Our Humanity? Study Shows Alarming Shift in Attitudes Toward Pain

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A study with 18,097 people from 18 countries showed that society is less tolerant towards individuals in pain. This is surprising considering the increased awareness of global health due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Haleon Pain Index (HPI) fifth edition shows that people’s attitudes towards pain in post-pandemic society have become stricter and less accepting.

Haleon’s study found that almost half of people in pain feel stigmatised, and a third are afraid of being judged for their pain.

This year’s study has found that, since the first edition in 2014, the social and emotional impact of pain has grown by nearly 25%, with stigma and social isolation arising from everyday pain increasing worldwide. 42% of people questioned said they regularly experience loneliness when in pain. Feelings of serious loneliness emerged globally, with 38% of people in mainland China, 33% in Australia and 32% in the UK reporting this. This coincides with warnings about the public health impacts of loneliness and social isolation issued by the World Health Organisation[4] and the Loneliness Epidemic pointed out in spring 2023.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Psychologist and Author, commented: “Everyday pain is a health issue that can easily be dismissed or trivialised. Many don’t realise its effects can be much worse than the symptoms themselves. The result of loneliness and mental health impact caused by lack of empathy and being treated differently is only worsening. As a society, we need to improve empathy and understanding in a world that is continuing to harden to these issues.”

The HPI discovered that people who already experience bias, discrimination, and exclusion in society are the worst affected by these hardening views on pain.

  • 58% of women said their pain had been treated differently, not believed or discriminated versus 49% of men. This is highest amongst women in India (74%), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) (74%), Brazil (74%), and mainland China (61%).
  • 59% of people of colour said their pain had been treated differently, not believed or discriminated versus 48% of white people. This is highest in Brazil (71%), Poland (64%) and the USA (64%), whilst this is true for 60% in the UK.

Challenges Faced by Younger Patients

The study also revealed a sharp generational divide in the way people experience pain, suggesting that younger patients struggle most with making their pain known and accessing treatment:

  • 70% of Gen Z said their pain had been treated differently, not believed or discriminated, compared to 40% of Baby Boomers. This is highest in India (80%), the USA (79%) and for 74% of UK respondents.
  • 45% of Gen Z said being in pain was too much of a taboo for them to speak out, compared to 35% of Boomers.

While the older generation find it easier to express their pain and access treatment, they are the most marginalised when it comes to accessing health-related information online. 45% of 75–84-year-olds said they struggle to access this online because they do not feel confident navigating the internet, compared with 33% overall.

More personalised and compassionate pain view

Respondents agreed on the need for a more personalised and compassionate view of pain. More than two thirds (68%) of people said more empathy to address bias and exclusion would make a real difference to their experience of pain. Meanwhile, 69% said they wished doctors and 62% wished pharmacists were better trained on how individual pain is for different patients.

Lisa Jennings, Head of Global Over the Counter Category at Haleon, said: “While pain is a universal human experience, resulting in loneliness and stigma for many, its impact varies considerably between social groups, with the most marginalised amongst the worst affected. Our ambition is to break down the barriers to achieving better everyday health for everyone – irrespective of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other factors. The HPI shows that we can lessen the social and emotional impact of pain by shifting perceptions and conversations around pain management. That’s why we’re taking action through several programs such as our #ListenToPain initiative which is being rolled out to health professionals across the globe.”

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Fortrea Unveils Expanded FortreaRx™ Pharmacy, Elevating Patient Access Solutions

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Fortrea (Nasdaq: FTRE) (the “Company”), a leading global contract research organization (CRO), today announced the opening of its expanded non-commercial specialty pharmacy, FortreaRx™, located in Lake Mary, Florida, which offers advanced patient access solutions across the United States, including ambient and cold-chain distribution capabilities and expertise.

Licensed in all 50 states and U.S. territories, FortreaRx delivers flexible, scalable solutions that meet the specific needs of its customers while providing medications to patients who may otherwise not have access to them. Non-commercial specialty pharmacies, like FortreaRx, provide these solutions on behalf of their pharmaceutical manufacturer customers and are uniquely positioned to serve as a bridge between pharmaceutical manufacturers and patients who meet the manufacturer requirements for prescription assistance.

Since FortreaRx’s inception in late 2008, Fortrea has pioneered non-commercial specialty pharmacy services, focusing exclusively on the distribution of free-goods products as an integrated component of pharmaceutical manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs (PAP) designed to expand access to therapy for qualified patients with no health insurance or those who are underinsured. The FortreaRx 40,000-square-foot facility doubles its operational space and bolsters its capabilities, delivering:

  • 1,800 square feet of ambient storage
  • 6,000+ square feet of cold chain storage with more than 85 percent of prescriptions filled by FortreaRx requiring this unique handling
  • Greater processing and fulfillment space for up to 18,000 prescriptions daily
  • Enhanced shipping solutions with options for overnight, expedited and 2-day deliveries

“Fortrea’s well-established patient services offerings, combined with the expanded capabilities of FortreaRx, deliver an end-to-end approach, from early clinical stages to post-market delivery, ensuring a comprehensive and personalized experience for patients,” said Bill Nolan, vice president and global head of Patient Access at Fortrea. “From our expertise in broad-range disease states to our unwavering commitment to patient assistance, Fortrea excels at delivering timely and impactful solutions to our pharmaceutical sponsors that strive to reduce patient and provider challenges by streamlining enrollment processes and by offering full integration with broader patient support initiatives.”

FortreaRx’s call center hub of case managers seamlessly manages patient inquiries, counseling and data verification of prescriptions. Fortrea’s patient access team helps patients and providers understand and navigate the complexities of coverage while removing obstacles to get medication to patients.

FortreaRx delivers efficient, consultative and cost-effective solutions for manufacturer prescription programs typically resulting in significant yearly savings for patients.

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Medela Launches Family Smart Watch App for Seamless Baby Monitoring

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Medela, the brand trusted by millions of moms*, announced today the global launch of its first-ever Medela Family smart watch app, designed for seamless tracking for Medela breast pumps users. This latest innovation is an extension of the award-winning Medela Family app, which supports new and expectant families worldwide by tracking breastfeeding and pumping sessions, as well as milk storage and other key metrics. The new smart watch app caters to the needs of new parents, offering quick, convenient tracking while on the move.

“Medela is committed to supporting mothers and families through innovative solutions, nurturing health for generations,” emphasizes Annette Brüls, CEO of Medela. “We understand the dynamic lifestyle of today’s moms and strive to offer tools that simplify the breastfeeding and pumping journey for new parents. This app is more than a convenience; it’s a way to stay intimately connected with your baby’s needs, even during the busiest of days.”

Seamless Integration
Compatible with both WatchOS® and Wear OS, the Medela Family smart watch app synchronizes automatically with the main smartphone app. This integration provides uninterrupted tracking of baby’s activities, from breastfeeding and pumping to sleep and diaper patterns.

The smart watch app includes an array of essential features to assist parents:

  • Virtual Milk Storage Inventory: Easily check the milk stash quantity.
  • Breastfeeding Tracking: Log sessions with a simple tap for a complete record of the baby’s feeding patterns.
  • Pumping Tracking: Easily record duration and quantity of pumping sessions.
  • Bottle Tracking: Accurately keep track of ounces or milliliters fed.
  • Sleep Tracking: Record the baby’s sleep, gaining insights into their restful moments.
  • Diaper Tracking: Note diaper changes to ensure the baby’s comfort.

User-Friendly Interface
The interface of the watch app features dedicated tabs for each function, providing quick, on-the-go tracking with streamlined controls. While the watch app focuses on essential tracking, the full range of features, including detailed data input, is available on the smartphone app, ensuring a comprehensive record.

The Medela Family app is used around the world by expectant and breastfeeding families to track inputs from pregnancy through baby’s first years, offering personalized, evidence-based guidance and easy tracking to simplify breastfeeding and pumping for new parents. The app also includes connectivity to Medela breast pumps, checklists for returning to work, virtual milk storage, and more.

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Saudi-Led Research Team Identifies Critical Gene for Fighting Lethal Malaria

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In a major scientific breakthrough, a research team from King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC), in collaboration with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), working alongside researchers from the UK, the US, and India, discovered a vital gene instrumental in combating malaria. This gene, termed PfAP2-MRP, is essential in the replication process of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most lethal strain of malaria.

Advanced laboratory techniques enabled the researchers to inhibit the PfAP2-MRP gene, revealing its critical role in the malaria parasite’s life cycle within red blood cells. This inhibition significantly disrupts the parasite’s ability to reproduce, reducing the severity of the disease’s symptoms and curbing its spread. This discovery is particularly impactful as it addresses Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which claims over half a million lives annually.

Dr. Ashraf Dada, Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah and the lead researcher, stated: “This discovery paves the way for the development of more effective treatments for the deadliest malaria strain, Plasmodium falciparum.” Also, this study enhances the scientific community’s understanding of the disease’s progression and its interaction with the human immune system, thereby strengthening efforts to combat this widespread malaria parasite prevalent in Africa.

Furthermore, the research demonstrated that the PfAP2-MRP gene regulates the production of genetically diverse protein receptors, allowing the parasite to evade the host’s immune system. This mechanism plays a significant role in the global spread of malaria and underscores the gene’s importance in developing future therapeutic strategies.

Published in the prestigious journal “Nature” this noteworthy study is part of a close collaboration between KFSH&RC and KAUST to engage in innovative research activities aimed at not only improving the diagnosis of microbes, bacteria, and parasites, but also underscores a global effort to combat pathogens and improve human health.

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre stands among the global leaders in providing specialized healthcare, driving innovation, and serving as an advanced medical research and education hub. Through strategic partnerships with prominent local, regional, and international institutions, the hospital is dedicated to advancing medical technologies and elevating the standards of healthcare worldwide.

About King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSH&RC)

King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSH&RC) stands as a leading healthcare institution in the Middle East, envisioned to be the optimal choice for every patient seeking specialized healthcare. The hospital boasts a rich history in the treatment of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, organ transplantation, neurosciences, and genetics.

In 2023, “Brand Finance” ranked King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre as the top academic medical centre in the Middle East and Africa, and among the top 20 globally. Additionally, in 2022, it was recognized as one of the leading global healthcare providers by Newsweek magazine.

As part of Saudi Vision 2030, a royal decree was issued on December 21, 2021, to transform the hospital into an independent, non-profit, government-owned entity, paving the way for a comprehensive transformation program aimed at achieving global leadership in healthcare through excellence and innovation.

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