MILAN, Oct 13 (APM) - Sales by Italy’s pharma contract manufacturing industry have grown to 1.7 billion euros, making it the largest in Europe, according to Saturday’s Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.
Germany, with 1.5 billion euros of sales, has slipped into second place, followed by France with 1.4 billion euros, the paper said. The figures came from a study by research body Prometeia, which had been commissioned by the pharma lobby group Farmindustria.
Italy’s sales account for 23% of Europe’s total of 7.6 billion euros. In the past six years, the contract manufacturing industry in the country has grown 40%, driven by a 67% rise in exports, which now account for 70% of sales, the paper said.
Massimo Scaccabarozzi, Farmindustria’s president, said the industry should not be considered second best, telling the paper that the quality of products is at the same level as the rest of the pharma sector.
The head of the contract manufacturers’ group inside the pharma association, Giorgio Bruno, pointed to increasing specialisation as the main reason for growth and predicted continuing expansion by Italian companies.
Pharma reforms still an unknown quantity despite debate
Italy’s long-awaited pharma reforms remain an unknown quantity despite lengthy discussions and many proposals about what needs to be done, according to Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The first draft of the 2018 budget law, which is seen as the likely vehicle to introduce to changes to the drugs reimbursement system, is due to be presented next week. But there is still no sign of what will be proposed, despite widespread agreement about the need to introduce wide-ranging changes.
Spending on directly procured drugs, which includes those used in hospitals, is 1.6 billion euros over budget in 2017 following a similar shortfall last year, the paper said.
And yet the pharma industry, politicians and medicines agency AIFA have revealed nothing about how they intend to deal with the overspending. Patients and the national health service urgently need to be told something, the paper suggested.
Italy woos allies for Milan’s candidacy to host EMA
Italy is making strenuous efforts to build support amongst European partners for Milan’s bid to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) when it leaves London, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The city’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, has met with his Croatian counterpart in Zagreb and is also expected to talk with Stockholm’s mayor. Meanwhile government representatives have embarked on a tour with the aim of drumming up support in other countries.
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, France and Germany may both decide to back Milan, albeit for different reasons. Spain may also opt for Milan as its choice: Barcelona’s candidacy is seen as having been compromised by the threat of Catalonia's secession, and the country already has three EU agencies, the paper said.
Although Milan is not the preferred new home of EMA staff, its position at the centre of Italy’s biotechnology and pharma R&D sector has boosted its chances, Il Sole 24 Ore believes.
Pharmacy reforms will take time
Pharmacy reforms will take time to feed through to the market, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s chief operating officer, Ornella Barra, told Il Secolo XIX in an interview published on Tuesday.
Italy has given the go-ahead for pharmacy chains to be built after changing ownership rules through competition legislation. Companies will be allowed to own multiple outlets for the first time, although these will be restricted to no more than 20% of the market in any one region.
Barra outlined the strategy of the group, saying it intends to integrate the different parts of the business, invest in R&D and develop the different brands. “We are interested in the [Italian] market, but change will not happen quickly. The competition law took four years to be passed,” she warned.
On Brexit, she said that the main impact on Walgreens Boots Alliance so far has been the depreciation of sterling, which has led to increases in the prices of goods and services bought from Europe and the U.S.
Pharma snubs epilepsy drug research
Pharma is snubbing research into new epilepsy drugs on poor profitability prospects, according to Sunday’s Il Fatto Quotidiano.
In 1996, there were 24 molecules in clinical development to treat the condition. Seven years later there were just 10, the paper said. Today, drugs are said to be ineffective in 30-40% of patients.
Italy has around 30,000 new cases of epilepsy diagnosed every year. The Italian epilepsy foundation has started a project in partnership with the Meyer paediatric hospital in Florence aimed at mapping the DNA of 350 children to discover genetic causes of the condition, the paper explained.