Press review

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Pfizer criticises Ireland for slow medicines access

Country : China, Ireland, UK

Keywords :
LONDON, Nov 17 (APM) - Pfizer has accused Ireland of being “one of the slowest countries in Europe” to fund the use of innovative medicines, The Sunday Times reported.
The company wrote to Simon Harris, the health minister, in June to complain about delays in introducing new products.
“It is of serious concern that Ireland is fast becoming one of the countries in Europe least likely to provide timely access to innovative medicines for Irish patients,” wrote Paul Reid, managing director of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, in the letter.
Reid’s letter, released under the freedom of information law, added that Ireland’s health technology assessment (HTA) process, which evaluates new medicines in terms of economic and ethical considerations, was “prolonged”. (APMHE 55566)
The department of health told The Times that many new medicines were due for market authorisation in Europe over the next five years. “This is the case not only in Ireland but across Europe, and that is why minister Harris has been engaging with other countries on international collaboration.”

Ireland discussing free access for emergency preventative HIV drug

Patients who need to access an emergency preventative HIV drug known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) could have hospital fees waived, Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has said, according to the Times at the weekend.
The paper said that Gilead’s Truvada (emtricitabine+tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) can prevent infection if it is taken shortly after high-risk sex. It is available free of charge through primary health care services and sexual health clinics, but sometimes patients go to emergency departments in hospitals to get the drug out of hours.
The HSE is currently seeking legal advice to find a way to waive the 100-euro emergency department fee for PEP patients.

Bill Gates invests in dementia research fund

Bill Gates has made his first move to support Alzheimer’s disease research, with a $50 million investment in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund, the FT said on Monday.
In addition to the investment, Gates told the FT: “I’ll put at least as much as the $50 million into other private investments and I’ll probably over time put the same amount into grants”. The grants will help to build the infrastructure required to process the disparate data being produced by Alzheimer’s labs in the private and public sectors around the world.

Shanghai Pharma to buy Cardinal Health’s China business for $557 million

Chinese state-owned drugmaker Shanghai Pharmaceuticals said on Wednesday it has agreed to pay $557 million for Cardinal Health Inc’s China business, one of the country’s largest drug distributors, the FT reported on Wednesday.
Shanghai Pharmaceuticals said in a statement that the acquisition would make it China’s largest distributor of imported drugs, and that the deal was motivated by the “rapid speed of consolidation” in China’s drug distribution industry.
Beijing is rolling out a “double-invoice” system limiting intermediaries between drug producers and hospitals, which is expected to slash the number of drug distributors in the country over the next few years.
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