The BMJ Today: Hiking the price of fizz

sugary_drinks_shop Getting busy with the fizzy
The BMA is the latest voice to call for a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the UK. The tax, if introduced, could reduce the prevalence of obesity by around 180 000 people in the UK, says the doctor’s union. The target would be all non-alcoholic drinks with added sugar, including energy drinks, soft drinks, and so called sports drinks (the subject of a 2012 BMJ investigation).

paracetamol_pills Where are we now with paracetamol?
The most widely used and prescribed drug in the UK still begs unanswered questions about its efficacy and safety. A new editorial sets out the most up to date answers to three key questions about paracetamol: will the treatment work for my clinical problem; are there side effects; and how many tablets do I take?

hiv_clinic_vietnam When getting richer is a double edged sword
Most of the world’s sick live in “middle income” countries, reports a new commentary. These countries, such as India, suffer from their middle tier ranking because they get neglected by major donors and international aid programmes. It’s a huge problem for HIV patients: 60% of whom live in these countries. But assistance is focused on low income countries. Brazil, for example, pays over $5000 per person a year for antiretroviral drugs, compared to $800 paid in sub-Saharan African countries.

A related piece of reportage from Vietnam looks firsthand at how the government is struggling to fill the gap left by donor funding, and how the rate of new HIV cases is climbing steadily.

Rebecca Coombes is head of investigations and features.