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BMS chief defends company’s investment and drug pricing strategies

Country : China, Europe, Italy

Keywords :
MILAN, Oct 20 (APM) - Bristol-Myers Squibb’s CEO and chairman, Giovanni Caforio, defended his company’s investment strategy and drugs pricing policies in an interview published in Monday’s Corriere della Sera.
The newspaper cited a recent study by the Institute for New Economic Thinking which concluded that the rising costs of drugs are a result of companies pursuing the maximum value for shareholders.
Caforio responded by saying he could only answer for his own group. He stressed that it has a very specific investment strategy to target only innovation that is transformative, can resolve serious medical problems and change the life of as many patients as possible.
“We work with governments and payers to make sure the price is never a barrier. For example, all our drugs are reimbursed in Italy by the national health service,” he told the paper.
Caforio also pointed out that drug costs are only a small part of overall spending on health: 14% in the U.S. and an average of 15% in European countries. He said his company seeks to generate value for shareholders over the long term through innovation.
The BMS chief talked about the prospects for cancer drug Opdivo (nivolumab), which has already been approved for the treatment of seven different types of tumour. “But we are just beginning to discover the role of this drug and we are conducting 250 clinical studies in at least 46 tumours,” he said.
Caforio said that BMS’s digital strategy is based on three elements: early diagnosis of cancer, using big data for predictive analysis and the development of new therapies and creating applications to improve the life of patients. “For example, we have invested in a company which is researching liquid biopsies: in the future we may be able to identify tumours more quickly,” he said.

Techdow aiming to take 12-15% of Italy’s enoxaparin sodium market

Techdow is aiming to take 12-15% of Italy’s enoxaparin sodium market after it launches Inhixa, a biosimilar of Sanofi’s Clexane, later this year, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The Chinese group, which is one of the biggest producers of heparin in the world, is planning to open offices in Milan in December. The price of Inhixa is expected to be around 26% lower than that of Clexane, the paper said.

Therapeutic cannabis law passes first hurdle

A law to regulate the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes has passed the first hurdle, according to Friday’s Il Messaggero.
The chamber of deputies has approved national rules for the cultivation and use of the drug throughout Italy. Previously, each region has had its own regulations, and access for patients varied according to where they lived.
The law will now be examined by the senate before its final approval, the paper said.
Sunday’s La Repubblica warned that shortages of therapeutic cannabis are worsening.
According to the paper, there has been a strong increase in the number of prescriptions of the drug, but production has failed to match the increase.
In 2015, 110 kilograms of cannabis was delivered to hospital pharmacies, rising to 220 kilograms a year later. In the first half of 2017, 170 kilograms were delivered, suggesting a 65% jump by the end of the year. The aim now is to increase production capacity to 300 kilograms in 2018, the paper said.

Patient group demands for EMA host decision favour Milan

Demands from the European Patients’ Forum that a decision about which country will host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) should be based solely on pragmatic considerations favour Milan’s bid, according to Friday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The paper said a letter sent to European heads of government stressed that choosing a country only because it does not already have a European agency would be wrong. It said that only cities which meet with all the requirements which will allow the EMA to function to an optimal level should be considered. (APMHE 55216)
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, Milan is the clear leader if you judge the bids on this basis, followed by Amsterdam and Copenhagen. It said this was an objective view which it hopes European governments will bear in mind when they vote.

Automatic substitution of drugs not an option for MS patients

Automatic substitution of drugs should not be an option in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, news agency ANSA reports on Friday.
A discussion at a conference in Naples revolved around the different types of drugs used. It was decided that in MS, drugs cannot be considered to be equivalent or even biosimilar because they may be structurally different. More studies should be done to provide conclusive data before automatic substitution should be allowed, it was decided.
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