Our regular e-newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with our work and everything that\'s going on at NATCOF. You can download the a copy of our newsletter from the links below.
Download June 2017 issue
More people will die from common surgical procedures and cancer treatments if dangerous bacteria continue to develop resistance to widely used antibiotics, a new study warns.
Patients rely on antibiotics to protect them from potentially deadly infections after undergoing chemotherapy, pacemaker implantation, cesarean sections or countless other medical procedures, said study senior author Ramanan Laxminarayan. He is director of the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, a public health research organisation in Washington, D.C.
The new study, published on October 15 in The Lancet, estimates that as many as half of infections after surgery and more than a quarter of infections after chemotherapy are caused by organisms already resistant to standard antibiotics.
If antibiotic resistance increases by just 30 percent in the United States, the tougher-to-treat bacteria could cause 6,300 more deaths a year and 120,000 more infections in patients undergoing either chemotherapy for cancer or 10 common surgical procedures, the researchers projected.
“Anytime you\\\'re going to need a surgery or a transplant, you\\\'re going to need effective antibiotics. It\\\'s something that affects all of us,” Laxminarayan said.
Concern over antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing. Earlier this year, the Obama administration released a national action plan to combat antibiotic resistance.
Also, the \\\"superbug\\\" MRSA was in the headlines this week after causing a serious infection in the ankle of New York Giants tight end Daniel Fells, prompting speculation the NFL player might need a foot amputation.
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2 million people a year become infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 die from these infections.
But most of these worries focus on the ability to treat existing bacterial infections, and ignore the widespread use of antibiotics to prevent infections after surgery or chemotherapy, said Dr Joshua Wolf, an assistant member of the infectious diseases department at St. Jude Children\\\'s Research Hospital in Memphis.
\\\"We know that kids with cancer have extremely high risk of bacterial infection that can be life-threatening. If resistance rates rise, those antibiotics will become less effective,\\\" said Wolf, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal. \\\"Surgery will become less safe, and cancer treatment will become more difficult.
To estimate the hazard posed to modern medicine by antibiotic resistance, the researchers reviewed hundreds of clinical trials between 1968 and 2011 that examined the effectiveness of antibiotics in preventing infection after chemotherapy or 10 common surgical procedures.
Those procedures included hip fracture surgery, pacemaker implantation, surgical abortion, spinal surgery, hip replacement, C-section delivery, prostate biopsy, appendectomy, hysterectomy and colon surgery.
Based on their review, the researchers estimate that between 39 percent and 51 percent of surgical site infections and 27 percent of post-chemotherapy infections are caused by bacteria already somewhat resistant to antibiotics.
Using a computer model, the study authors were able to show that with a 10 percent increase in antibiotic resistance, there would be at least 2,100 more infection-related deaths a year and 40,000 more infections following surgery or chemo.
A 70 percent increase in resistance would lead to an additional 15,000 deaths annually and 280,000 infections, they said.
\\\"It\\\'s a large enough number that it should be of concern,\\\" Laxminarayan said.
He added that the number would be even higher if the estimate included all procedures that require antibiotics, which range from simple root canals to organ transplants.
\\\"Antibiotics are the one medication that everyone will get at some point in their life,\\\" Laxminarayan said.
The development of new antibiotics will not help if effective antibiotic controls are not in place, Wolf said.
\\\"Our experience has been that when we introduce a new antibiotic, we see resistance develop fairly quickly,\\\" he said.
Doctors and hospitals can help by limiting use of antibiotics to cases that truly need them, said Dr Henry Chambers, chief of infectious diseases at San Francisco General Hospital.
Also, Chambers would like to see tough mandatory controls put in place. Currently, he said, \\\"in hospitals, pretty much anybody can order an antibiotic.\\\"
Consumers can play a role, too, Wolf added.
\\\"They can say no to antibiotics for coughs and colds. They can ask for an antibiotic alternative, if it\\\'s available. And they can ask for meat that\\\'s antibiotic-free,\\\" Wolf said.
SOURCES: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Ph.D., M.P.H., director, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington D.C.; Joshua Wolf, M.B.B.S., assistant member, Infectious Diseases Department, St. Jude Children\\\'s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; Henry Chambers, M.D., chief, infectious diseases, San Francisco General Hospital
Samsung shipped 2.5 million units of Galaxy Note7, to retailers in several markets, with 1 million of those units reaching consumers, before announcing a recall of all of the 2.5 million units due to an error in production. The production error allegedly resulted in pressure being placed on the plates contained within the battery cells, putting the negative and positive poles into contact, causing excessive heat and products catching fire.
According to Bloomberg, Samsung have said to regulators “the phone’s battery was slightly too big for its compartment and the tight space pinched the battery”.
In the UK, USA, Australia and South Korea, there have been reports of more than 100 incidents, serious damage sustained to property, as well as harm to individuals.
A consumer’s Jeep caught fire and was utterly destroyed in St Petersburg, USA, and over $A1800 Australian Dollars’ worth of damage was caused to a hotel room in Perth, Australia. The consumer in Australia had lodged an application with Samsung when the recall was officially announced, and the incident happened three days later. Whilst a six year old in New York City was rushed to hospital with burns as the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 “exploded in his hands”, and a California man suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his leg, finger and thumb, when his phone exploded in his pocket.
So far news coverage suggests that Samsung has covered the bill for the hotel room and that they have yet to pay to replace the Jeep. There has been no concrete reporting of whether compensation has been given for injuries that have occurred, though the man who sustained severe burns has been reported as saying he will sue Samsung.
What are Samsung doing to inform affected consumers?
Samsung has set up an exchange programme where affected customers can swap their Galaxy Note7’s, for another phone.
What the replacement will be depends on which country you are in, with some customers being offered a new Galaxy Note7 with a new battery, other customers being offered older models of the phone, such as the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, and in some cases customers are offered temporary phones for free while they wait for a new Galaxy Note7 with a new battery.
The exchange programme won’t be complete for another couple of weeks, with safe replacement products being rolled out to different countries from 19th September 2016 onwards. So we must be vigilant in ensuring that all consumers affected have been treated fairly and effectively.
Please see below for the current communications from Samsung to customers in countries where there have been reports of damage to people and property.
In the USA, prior to 21st September customers could exchange the faulty phone for the safer model of the Galaxy Note7. Now US customers can only exchange the faulty phone for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge and get replacement of any Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices; or they can contact their point of purchase to obtain a total refund.
In Australia, from 21st September customers were able to exchange faulty phones for the safer models of the Galaxy Note7.* Samsung has also announced that an automatic software update will be released in Australia from 21st September to all original Galaxy Note7 smartphones purchased in this country. The software update will automatically download and install to all original Galaxy Note7 smartphones that were purchased in Australia to limit the smartphone battery to a maximum charge of 60 per cent. The update is part of Samsung Australia’s ongoing commitment to safety in relation to the battery cell issue with original versions of the smartphone. There will also be a software update made available that customers will need to download for new replacement Galaxy Note7 smartphones. This software update will introduce a green battery icon to identify that the new device does not have the reported battery issue and is safe to use.
Hong Kong and Macau
Thanks to the work of Hong Kong Consumer Council, Samsung’s Hong Kong and Macau website has the most up to date and detailed information, with its very own separate pop up on their website. They state exactly how many of the model had be sold in Hong Kong between 26th August and 1 September – which was 500 units. Samsung say the units sold after the 1st September are not at risk of being affected as the batteries were provided by another supplier.
Samsung in Hong Kong and Macau, have issued this notice:
“A mandatory software update will be issued on 18 September 2016 to the remaining 159 Galaxy Note7 devices – purchased in Hong Kong and Macau between 26 August and 1 September 2016 – which may be affected by the battery issue. This mandatory software update will limit maximum battery capacity to 60% as a safety precaution and help urge customers to return these affected devices as soon as possible. Push notifications and public announcements will be made beforehand to alert consumers of the rationale and consequences of this automatic software update.
At the same time, we continue to contact owners of the remaining affected Galaxy Note7 devices using multiple channels and all means available to us.”
They are also encouraging Hong Kong and Macau consumers to check whether their phone is safe by using their IMEI number and cross checking it against Samsung’s own database, using a webform on their country specific website.
In the United Kingdom, the programme to exchange faulty phones for safer Galaxy Note7 with a new battery is still running, but it is being coordinated by retailers and network providers that originally sold the faulty product. Customers who have bought a faulty phone should have been contacted by retailers and network providers before the 19th September to arrange an exchange, but if they haven’t been contacted they are encouraged to contact whoever they purchased the model from to arrange the exchange themselves.
Samsung UK advises, “If you have a Galaxy Note7 device, until a replacement device is provided Samsung asks that you power down your device and return it to its place of purchase at your earliest opportunity. Please use your previous device until a new Galaxy Note7 can be provided. If you do not have your previous device please contact the provider or operator you purchased the device from to organise a loan device until it is possible to exchange your Galaxy Note7.”
In South Korea, customers were offered a temporary phone until the 18th September while they waited for Samsung to replace their faulty phone with the safer Galaxy Note7 with a new battery. The safer product replacement has been available from the 19th September and affected consumers can arrange their exchange in store. If returning the phone for a refund is difficult customers can return the product to another location, listed on Samsung Korea’s website, for which they will receive cash on delivery.
What about consumers in countries where it hasn’t been released or where incidents haven’t been reported?
Across Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific, Samsung are inconsistent in warning consumers.
In Latin America where the product has yet to be launched, some countries have been warned about the faulty phones, like Mexico, but other countries, such as Paraguay, weren’t.
In African markets they only chosen to warn consumers in Egypt and Libya that there has been a product recall and that they might be affected.
In Asia Pacific they have warned customers to differing degrees in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Korea and Macau, but haven’t warned customers in Japan or Thailand and many other countries in the region.
Samsung could argue the reason they have not informed some consumer audiences is because they have yet to launch products in these places, but as they indicate in their own communications to Egyptian, Libyan and Australian audiences, they are a global company offering a product that can be bought and consumed anywhere in the world.
There is an inconsistency in how they communicate what is happening with consumers not only globally, but also within regions.
Are Samsung being consistent and responsible?
It is clear from Samsung’s varied approach to the recall and exchange programme that different levels of customer service are available to different markets. The opportunity for customers to check whether their phone is affected by inputting their IMEI number into a database is a useful tool but is not available to all of Samsung’s customers, with some audiences completely unaware that there has been a fault in the initial product launch which may affect their decision to purchase the product.
The National Consumers Forum - NATCOF participated in the 3 day celebration for the National Day Show at Roche Caiman. NATCOF was showcasing its 20th anniversary exhibition and giving out information on consumers rights and responsibilities at the stall under CEPS - Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles.
Following the invitation of the National Assembly from the opening of their Museum in June 2015 the National Consumers Forum - NATCOF is organising a series of visits for its members. The first group was on Tuesday 21st July 2015. They had the opportunity to be in the gallery during questions time of the Assembly session followed by a guided tour at the museum by Ms Tania Isaac.
Members were very impressed and felt privileged as they would not have been able to do it on their own.
Other groups have been scheduled up to August 2015.
The 20th CI World Congress was held in Brasilia from the 18th to 21st November 2015 and it was co-host by the Ministry of Justice through the National Secretariat on Consumers Affairs (SENACON).
The global event which takes place every four years bring together representatives from consumer movement from over 120 countries and it’s a time for networking and the sharing of ideas and experiences around some of the most pressing issues facing consumers today.
The theme “Unlocking Consumer Power: A new Vision for the Global Market Place.”
The National Consumers Forum (NATCOF) Seychelles was represented at the event by the Mrs Raymonde Course, the Chairperson and Ms Najea Barbe the Administrative Officer.
For more information on the 20th CI World Congress to the link:
Or visit the Consumers International Website.