Press review

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Italy’s paediatricians worried election campaign will heighten public's vaccine fears

MILAN, Jan 19 (APM) - Italy’s paediatricians are worried the election campaign will heighten fears about vaccines amongst the public, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Tuesday.
Giampietro Chiamenti, head of the Italian federation of paediatricians, told the online publication that doctors have been surprised by promises from two opposition parties to abolish a law which made 10 vaccinations mandatory for schoolchildren.
“This will result in scientifically proven preventative measures being doubted, and efforts to raise immunisation levels in recent years will be undermined,” he said.
A study published as part of an article, ’Parental Vaccine Hesitancy in Italy’, in Vaccine journal, showed that 88% of parents who are in favour of vaccinations see paediatricians as the most trusted source of information on the subject. Even 71% of those who have doubts and 47% of those who are opposed to vaccines agreed with this view.
On the other hand, Wednesday’s La Stampa said that the issue was unlikely to sway the election one way or another.
‘No-Vax' voters are most likely to be parents, whose impact on the result will be limited. Pensioners and other categories are said to be much less interested in the issue and unlikely to change their vote because of it, the paper quoted a polling export as saying.

Use of Sardinian longevity biobank blocked by privacy regulator

London-based Tiziana Life Sciences has been prohibited from using genetic data in a Sardinian biobank by the privacy regulator, Il Messaggero reported on Saturday.
The company paid 300,000 euros for the information in July 2016, with one of the aims to use it to develop new drugs and diagnostics. However, an association representing people whose genetic data was part of the biobank appealed to the Garante di Privacy.
The regulator ordered the company to refrain from using it and said it must tell individuals about any data it holds which is not subject to the ban, the paper said.

Italian pharma low in global R&D investment rankings

Italian pharma companies come low down in global R&D investment rankings, Il Giornale reported on Sunday.
Pharmaceuticals made the biggest investments last year, ahead of consumer electronics and chemicals. But Chiesi was ranked 59 out of the 500 pharma companies that invest most, with 340 million euros spent in 2017.
The other three listed were Recordati, diagnostics specialist DiaSorin and plasma derivatives producer Kedrion, the paper said, Together the four companies invested 486 million euros in R&D last year.

Five Menarini managers investigated in Parma corruption probe

Five managers from the Menarini group are being investigated in a probe into corruption in Parma, according to Gazzetta di Parma.
They are suspected of having used illicit commercial practices to favour the launch of one of the company’s drugs, Lenizak. Guido Fanelli, a doctor who worked on a health ministry pain relief and palliative care strategy, is said to have had a central role in the operation.
A promotional campaign for the launch of Lenizak, a pain relief therapy, is said to have been orchestrated by Menarini managers. Fannelli is suspected of being paid by the pharma company to write an article for a scientific journal and appear on television programmes.
Mundipharma, Grünenthal and Molten are among other companies said to be under investigation.

Flu epidemic puts plasma supplies at risk

A flu epidemic sweeping Italy has put plasma supplies at risk because of the sharp decline in donors, according to Sunday’s La Stampa.
Around 800,000 people were hit by the virus in the last week alone, the paper said. More than 3 million Italians have had the flu so far.
At least five regions have signalled serious shortages of blood donations and operations have started to be cancelled. The San Raffaele hospital in Milan has invited staff and students still in good health to donate, while the city’s Polyclinic kept its transfusion centre open over the weekend to try to boost supplies in the city.

Public investment needed for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s R&D

Public investment needs to be made in R&D for drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases now that Pfizer has decided to end its research in this area, the rector of Rome’s San Raffaele said in a comment piece published in Wednesday’s Libero.
Enrico Garaci warned that the pharma group could cut hundreds of jobs in laboratories across the world as it focuses its resources on other areas.
He said that despite progress in development of new treatments, the public will tend to see the two diseases as incurable. He suggested governments need to step in and provide investment to make up for the loss of resources from companies like Pfizer.
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