Press review

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Mail order pharmacies will fight German prohibition of prescription drug sales

BERLIN, Feb 9 (APM) - Mail order pharmacies doing business in Germany will fight against the prohibition of their online prescription sales planned by the new ruling coalition, FAZ reports on Friday (p19).
The federal association of mail order pharmacies (BVDVA) said that the prohibition would be "highly problematic, if not impossible, under constitutional and European law". It said that mail order pharmacies have sold prescription drugs for many years and that current regulation is functioning properly.
Mail order pharmacy DocMorris, based in the Netherlands, warned that it will "take all necessary legal and operational steps in the interest of its patients," both in Germany and on the European level.

EU commissioner has Bayer on the hook

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has decided to extend the examination period of the Bayer-Monsanto deal until April 5, Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday (p46).
Vestager wants to ensure that farmers will have an ample selection of seeds and pesticides after the large-scale merger and that there is sufficient research in the industry, the paper said.
Experts believe that the extension of the deadline is not an indication that the deal will fail.
Bayer initially expected to gain approval of the deal by the end of 2017, but had underestimated the extent of the EU Commission investigation, the paper said.

Bayer still expects closing of Monsanto takeover in early 2018

Bayer chief executive officer Werner Baumann still expects to close its takeover of U.S. seeds group Monsanto in "early 2018" despite the additional time for EU review, he said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Thursday (p28)
Baumann said there is no reason to withdraw from the transaction, which is "an extremely value-creating acquisition". "We're still very confident that we'll complete the merger," he added.

Sanofi optimistic despite slump in U.S. diabetes business

Sanofi saw an 11% sales decrease in its diabetes business in 2017, to 6.4 billion euros, and expects a further 9% drop in 2018, FAZ reported on Thursday (p48) (APMHE 56773).
The U.S. market was particularly difficult, with diabetes sales falling by 23% to 3.1 billion euros.
Nevertheless, the head of Sanofi's diabetes unit, Stefan Oelrich, showed optimism at the annual results conference. Diabetes care is a growing business and Sanofi's revenues are increasing in emerging markets, he said. Sanofi has other products that will compensate for the loss of patent protection of its long-acting insulin Lantus, he added.
Chief scientific officer Elias Zerhouni highlighted the company's promising partnership on cancer immunotherapies with German biotech BioNTech and on antibiotics with the Fraunhofer Institute. Both are still at an early stage.

Xtandi survey 'manipulated'

A German market research company asked its interviewers to manipulate interviews for a physicians' survey on Astellas' prostate cancer drug Xtandi (enzalutamide) to obtain more favourable results, Der Spiegel reported on Saturday (p42-43). (APMHE 56738)
According to Der Spiegel, interviewers conducting a survey in 2015 completed most of 83 questionnaires themselves in three days, instead of calling urologists.
Astellas told Der Spiegel that it had assumed the survey was carried out correctly.

Stada shareholders approve domination, P&L transfer agreement

Stada's shareholders approved a profit transfer and control agreement in favour of the new majority owners Bain Capital and Cinven with 99% of the vote on February 2, FAZ reported on Saturday (p22).
The approval of the agreement required a minimum 75% of votes, while Bain Capital and Cinven hold about 65% of the shares.
Elliott Management, a hedge fund which owns 15% of shares, supported the agreement, even if its representatives did not express themselves at the extraordinary meeting.

One-third of new drugs in 2018 expected to treat cancer

Of the 30 or more new drugs expected to be marketed in Germany in 2018, a third will be used to treat cancer, Die Welt wrote in a special section on World Cancer Day on Saturday.
About half of all Germans suffer from tumours or malignant changes in the haematopoietic system at some point in their lifetime and expectations for drug research to find new treatments are correspondingly high, the paper said.
The fear of cancer among German citizens is also high, the paper said (APMHE 56743). Almost 90% of Germans support more cancer research, while 69% believe the main task of all drug research should be to eradicate the disease, it said.

German doctors reluctant to prescribe naloxone for drug overdose

Doctors in Germany are reluctant to prescribe naloxone, used to block the effects of opioids especially in an overdose, to drug addicts because they view them as unable to handle the medicine responsibly, SZ reported on Tuesday (p14).
Though the number of opioid and other addictive drug-related deaths have been rising in Germany for years and new forms of naloxone, including a nasal spray version, make it easier to use, a lack of advertising and education about the drug's safety and efficacy leave it underused, the paper said.

Amazon's health insurance 'dangerous'

The joint U.S. health insurance company announced by Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway is "dangerous", Die Welt reported on Tuesday (p13).
The entry of a technology company and a financial giant into the health insurance industry points the way to a digitalised future where "Big Brother" keeps a permanent eye on citizens from cradle to grave, the paper said.
New technology will allow payers to enforce complete transparency on their members and with it, behaviour control, it said.

More antibiotics research funding necessary

More research must be done or soon antibiotic-resistant bacteria will turn up in the drinking water, SZ reported on Wednesday (p4).
Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been found in rivers, streams and even swimming lakes in the German region of Lower Saxony, the paper said.
It is "fair" to assume that the bacteria can be found in other parts of the country too, but German regions have neglected to put enough research funding into learning more about the problem, it said.
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