In this edition several topical issues are brought to the attention of our readers. Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy is discouraged on the basis of a large observational study of nearly a million postmenopausal women, which showed an increased incidence of fatal breast cancer. Whereas nimesulide, which has been a subject of concern due to its association with hepatic reactions, has received a favourable benefit/risk assessment by the European Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products. A new antimalarial drug combination (chlorproguanil-dapsone) was approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. It is intended to be used in sub-Saharan Africa.
A European-Pacific kava strategy meeting was held in Brussels, Belgium on 25-26 August. This meeting sought to address issues on the implications of the ban on "synthetic" kava preparations on the use of natural kava products. A full report on this issue will be forthcoming later.
The first meeting of the WHO Advisory Committee for the Safety of Medicinal Products (ACSoMP) will take place in Geneva in the month of October. This is an important development since the remit of the Committee is to set a policy for WHO in the area of medicine safety and to review controversial safety issues. In December, the National Centres for Pharmacovigilance will get together in New Delhi, India for their annual meeting. Further information on this will shortly be available on the website: http://www.who-umc.org.