Press review

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Oncology chief calls for Italy’s innovative cancer drugs funding to be continued in 2018

MILAN, Sep 15 (APM) - The head of the medical oncologists association AIOM has called for special funding for innovative cancer drugs to be continued in 2018, La Repubblica reported on Saturday.
Stefania Gori was speaking from the meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Madrid this week. In addition to special funding, she proposed a national strategy to combat the disease through better prevention, access to the latest drugs, research and appropriate end-of-life care.
Former AIOM president Carmine Pinto, who was also at the ESMO, claimed that Italy’s reimbursement system is seen internationally as an effective model for paying for new therapies.
He provided figures to show that Italy is among the countries with the most access to new cancer therapies. Between 2010-2014, Italy’s national health service was authorised to pay for 31 out of 49 new cancer drugs launched. This compared to 41 in the U.S., 38 in Germany and 37 in the UK.
Pinto said he supported the criteria used by medicines agency AIFA to choose which innovative drugs should be included in the fund.

Vaccines policy a ‘gift’ to pharma - opposition party leader

The leader of the Lega Nord opposition party, Matteo Salvini, has claimed that Italy’s mandatory vaccinations policy is a gift to pharma, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Thursday.
He argued that, before allowing vaccines to be used, there should be a free check-up for children to ensure they will not be harmed by them. He said Italy will have the highest number of mandatory vaccinations in Europe - 10 in total - once the policy is implemented.
“You don’t need to be a scientist to realise that this was a gift to the pharmaceutical companies which already make a lot of money,” he said.
Salvini promised that the law introducing the compulsory vaccinations will be repealed if his party is part of the next government.

Government accused of not doing enough for EMA candidacy

Opposition parties have accused the government of not doing enough to bring the European Medicines Agency to Milan, Il Giorno reports on Friday.
Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and its ally Lega Nord have become increasingly concerned Italy’s bid will not win, the paper says. Paolo Grimoldi, a member of Lega Nord, suggested the government has failed to provide adequate support for Milan’s candidacy and warned that other cities, especially Bratislava, are now at an advantage.
He said that it should be a priority to bring the EMA to Milan because of the jobs it would create and the boost it would give the economy, especially since the pharma industry is such a valuable part of it.
Forza Italia’s Andrea Mandelli has tabled a parliamentary question for health minister Beatrice Lorenzin and prime minister Paolo Gentiloni, asking what concrete action the government intends to take to support Milan’s bid, the paper adds.

Blood donations halted after 17 Chikungunya cases

Blood donations have been halted in parts of Rome after 17 cases of Chikungunya virus infection were reported in the Lazio region, La Stampa reported on Thursday.
Anyone who has been in any area where there has been a case will have to be quarantined for five days before giving blood, the paper said. It noted that Chikungunya, which is carried by tiger mosquitos, is not considered a fatal disease but can be dangerous in the elderly and in children.

Mandatory vaccination opposed by 28% - survey

Mandatory vaccinations are opposed by 28% of Italians, according to the results of a survey published in Thursday’s La Stampa.
The paper conducted the study which showed that 69% are in favour while 3% have no opinion on the subject. Around 10% said they are against because they believe the policy favours pharma while 7% think that it is a restriction on the freedom to choose.
Out of those who support mandatory vaccination, 26% said they are in favour because vaccines save lives,18% said vaccines led to the disappearance of some infectious diseases in the last century and 15% said they prevent serious illness.

Independent pharmacies prepare for arrival of chains

Independent pharmacies are planning to group together in networks as a way of defending against the arrival of multinational chains, according to Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
A law designed to increase competition has been passed to allow companies to own multiple pharmacy outlets for the first time.
The pharmacy and wholesalers associations, Federfarma and Federfarma Servizi, have drawn up a strategy to face the challenge. “The objective is to allow the largest number of independent pharmacies to compete in the new setting so they are not left alone,” Federfarma’s president Marco Cossolo told the paper.
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