MADRID, Nov 17 (APM) - One of the current challenges for the Spanish health ministry is improving access to innovative drugs, and it will need to make additional savings from increased use of affordable generic medicines, Carlos A. Teixeira, Teva’s head of Spain and Portugal, told daily La Razón in a Tuesday interview.
“Considering how pricey innovation is, we feel we can make a great contribution to the sustainability of the [healthcare] system”, he said.
Teixeira noted that the need to reactivate the growth of generics in Spain is a strategic question for Teva but also for the country, where generics have gone from two-digit growth to annual decreases which started in 2011.
According to Teixeira, Spain’s decreasing generics sales contrast with other countries, where generics sales are on the rise. It is very important that generics contribute some of the savings needed for public healthcare systems to invest in research. He thinks there is no alternative to this, he told La Razón.
He said the ministry could boost generic use either by making different prices mandatory for branded medicines or by incentivising brand-free prescriptions. (APMHE 53715
He added that biosimilars are another “extremely important” instrument for the sustainability of the system. “All health ministers should have this issue on their agendas because it will save money - somewhere between hundreds of millions of euros and as much as a billion,” he said.
A defence of Barcelona as EMA host
On Friday, daily El País carries an editorial signed by Regina Revilla, a Merck, Sharp and Dohme executive and member of the so-called ‘dream team’ working on Barcelona’s bid to host the European Medicines Agency.
Revilla argues that Barcelona was second after London the first time candidates competed to host the agency 20 years ago, adding that the city and the whole country have improved notably since then.
She notes that Spanish teams worked closely with their British counterparts at the time to start EMA, and their collaboration has remained intense.
In a separate Friday story, medical journal Redacción Médica reports that Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has fired the member of her team who was in charge of coordinating Barcelona's candidacy with the Spanish ministry of health.
Barcelona opens first HIV PrEP centre
The first HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis-specialised centre in Spain has opened its doors in Barcelona, dailies El País and La Vanguardia reported on Thursday.
Homosexual men needing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will use the centre, called Barcelona Checkpoint. Around 800 cases of HIV infection are diagnosed each year, and two out of three are in male patients who have sex with men, El País noted.
Clinical trials have shown PrEP can reduce the risk of infection by 90%. Gilead’s Truvada (emtricitabine+tenofovir disoproxil) is approved in Europe and administered to at-risk groups in France and the UK, whereas in Spain pricing talks prevent the drug from being more widely used, El País added.
Representatives of Barcelona Checkpoint estimate that around 1,500 people use the drug in PrEP, buying it abroad, the newspaper reported.
Former Lilly exec appointed U.S. health secretary
President Donald Trump has appointed Alex Azar, former head of the American division of Eli Lilly, secretary of health and human services, it was widely reported on Tuesday.
Azar takes over from Tom Price, who resigned last month after revelations that he had spent over a million dollars in private and official trips, financial El Economista reported. The financial also quoted Trump as tweeting that Azar will be “a star for… lower drug prices”.
Dailies La Vanguardia, La Razón, El Mundo, El País, El Diario, El Periódico and Europa Press agency also carried the story on Tuesday.
Government agency reprehends Grifols and PharmaMar
The agency which supervises Spain’s stock market, CNMV, has accused Grifols and PharmaMar of failing to comply with some of its conditions regarding governance, medical journal Redacción Médica reported on Thursday.
Grifols has not created two separate commissions for the appointment and remuneration of new executives, nor has it streamed its meeting as demanded by CNMV’s guidelines.
PharmaMar does not comply with established procedures for risk control and management, internal code of conduct and others, the journal noted.
Eli Lilly’s head of Spain to retire
Javier Ellena, head of Eli Lilly in Spain, Portugal and Greece, will retire on December 31 after 40 years in the company, financial Cinco Días, El Economista, medical journals Gaceta Médica, Acta Sanitaria and Redacción Médica reported on Monday.
In what Cinco Días called a “historic replacement”, the firm’s former vice president of Asia, Nabil Daoud, will take over from him.