MILAN, Oct 27 (APM) - Italy’s generics market is still dominated by branded originator drugs as manufacturers of pure generics face increasing challenges, La Stampa reported on Sunday.
Drug names are part of the problem. Most people know the antiviral Oki but few recognise the generic ketoprofene, the paper explained. As a result, only two medicines out of 10 dispensed in Italy are unbranded, compared to half in Germany. Italians spent close to a billion euros last year to obtain a branded drug rather than accepting automatic substitution with a reimbursed generic.
Only three out of 10 medicines used in hospitals are unbranded. Around 20% of procurement tenders are abandoned because prices are so low it is not worth bidding for them, the paper continued.
The head of medicines agency AIFA, Mario Melazzini, told La Stampa that companies which produce both originator and generic drugs should be “aware of their social responsibilities.” He said this would allow Italy to exploit the lower prices of generic products.
16 drugs are going off-patent in coming months, including Eli Lilly’s erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil), with combined sales of almost 1 billion euros, according to La Stampa.
To illustrate the potential savings of generic drugs, the paper cited Novartis’ Glivec (imatinib), which went off- patent earlier this year. A months' treatment previously cost 1,800 euros, while the price has now dropped to 45 euros, it said.
Kedrion denies considering sale of stake to Chinese investor
Kedrion has denied that it is considering selling a stake to Chinese investors, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The paper had claimed in an article on Wednesday that the Lucca-based plasma derivatives firm was among a group of Italian companies that were being eyed from China. The others were medical devices company Esaote and Farmabios, which is owned by Deutsche Private Equity.
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, Hualan Biological Engineering was one of the Chinese investors interested in buying a stake in Kedrion from Italy’s sovereign wealth fund CDP Equity.
However, the Italian group insisted there is no basis to the speculation and that the group is and will remain firmly under control of the Marcucci family. Nonetheless, the paper reiterated its claim, saying it understands Chinese groups are interested in buying a minority stake from CDP Equity.
Recordati raises targets again after Q3 results
Recordati has raised its full-year targets again after better than expected third quarter results, according to Thursday’s La Repubblica.
CEO Andrea Recordati said the group's performance over nine months had produced strong growth in sales and profits. Revenues were 11.8% higher to end-September, at 963.8 million euros, EBITDA rose more than 22% to 342 million euros and net profit was up 20.6% at 219.8 million euros.
The company is forecasting sales of 1.29-1.3 billion euros for the full year, EBITDA between 450-460 million euros and net profits of 290-295 million euros.
Plasma derivatives market opened up after court ruling
Italy’s plasma derivatives market has been opened up to competition by foreign operators after a court ruling, Italia Oggi reported on Tuesday.
An unidentified company which produces blood products in Italy had applied to the Council of State to obtain the cancellation of licences for two companies, one operating in Switzerland and the other in Sweden. The case was based on the requirement that only companies which can assure uncontaminated plasma derivates should be allowed to operate in Italy.
However, the court said the collection of blood in both Switzerland and Sweden is done within public, not-for-profit systems. This is enough of a guarantee for the companies to be allowed to operate in Italy, the court decided.
It ruled that the system is more efficient if it is part of the European market because health costs can be contained while ensuring safety and efficacy of the plasma products, something which a monopoly system is unable to do.
Law firm eyes life sciences patent growth with new Milan office
Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has opened an office in Milan on good prospects for life sciences patent applications, according to Tuesday’s Corriere della Sera.
The biotechnology industry is seen as growing fast and intellectual property services are in demand. The law firm, which has 26 offices worldwide, will be headed by Laura Orlando in Milan, the paper said.