MILAN, Nov 10 (APM) - Milan is now one of the favourites to win the race to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) when it leaves London after Brexit, several papers report on Friday.
La Repubblica cites an article in Thursday's Financial Times as saying the final choice is likely to be between the Italian candidate and Bratislava. The paper said Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Vienna are also in with a chance, although less so than at the outset.
Il Sole 24 Ore reports that Milan is seen as being the most appropriate in terms of satisfying the criteria set by the medicines agency and the European commission, while the Slovak capital is the candidate that would assure the best share of agencies around the EU.
However, Il Sole 24 Ore also warns that the complex voting system to be used to choose the new host means that it is impossible to predict who will win. Much will depend on the work of diplomats between now and 20 November. Tactical voting could tilt the balance towards Copenhagen or Amsterdam, it suggests.
Slovenia will vote for Milan, according to Friday’s Corriere della Sera. The paper says foreign minister Karl Erjavec announced the decision after talks with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano. “Slovenia will support Italy on the EMA. I hope and I am convinced that Italy will win in the first round (of voting),” he is reported to have said.
Italy’s diplomatic efforts are being concentrated on the Baltic states. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which do not have candidates of their own.
Corriere della Sera cites the Financial Times as saying 70% of the EMA staff would leave if Bratislava was chosen.
HCV drugs funding available but patients harder to find
Patients infected with the hepatitis C virus who can be treated with direct-acting antivirals are becoming harder to find despite availability of funds to pay for their treatments, Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday.
It noted that medicines agency AIFA decided in 2015 to prioritise treatment of the most serious cases, whose number was estimated to be around 80,000. Funding worth 500 million euros a year was made available.
According to the paper, treatment of the most serious cases was concluded in spring of this year. “Now we have another problem,” Antonio Craxi, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Palermo, told the paper. “We no longer have patients coming to us, now we need to go and look for them.”
Italy’s strategy is to treat as many people with HVC infection as is possible so that the disease can be eradicated. But many people with less serious cases do not have symptoms and do not think about being treated, the paper said.
Italian medicines agency seeking new premises after expansion
Medicines agency AIFA is looking for new premises after expansion has left it cramped and uncomfortable at its current central Rome location, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Monday.
The number of staff has risen from 630 to 750 in recent years and the regulator’s director general, Mario Melazzini, is hoping to find offices almost double the current size, the paper said.
The agency is now looking at proposals with the idea that AIFA can be housed in a publicly owned building. However, nothing suitable has materialised so far, and the agency may have to accept one of two offers from the private sector, the paper said.
Alfasigma reduces redundancies after talks with unions
Alfasigma has reduced the number of redundancies it will make after negotiation with unions, according to Thursday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The company, which currently has around 3,000 employees and 940 million euros of sales, intends to cut 300 jobs rather than the 456 originally planned. Two-thirds of the losses will be in the medical representatives network, while around 50 staff will leave under early retirement schemes, the paper said.
Alfasigma is now committed to making 70 million euros of investment in its production sites and more than 100 million euros in R&D. The plan still has to be agreed by unions but management is hopeful, after the recent talks, that the deal will be accepted.
Procurement agency launches 112 million-euro drugs tender
The national public procurement agency Consip is to launch a drugs tender worth 112 million euros, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.
The paper said the supply contracts will be for cancer drugs and immunomodulators. They will make Consip, a centralised organisation which buys for different regions, the biggest single procurer of drugs in Italy. A regional tender in Sardegna worth 96 million euros and one by a local health enterprise in Rome for 60 million euros are the next largest tenders, the paper said.