Press review

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Greek parliament commission to investigate Novartis bribery scandal

Country : Greece, U.S., Spain

Keywords :
MADRID, Feb 23 (APM) - The Greek government has voted to create an investigation commission over alleged bribery involving 10 prominent Greek politicians from 2006 to 2015, daily La Vanguardia and regional El Diario Vasco report on Friday, while daily El País carried a lengthy story about the issue on Thursday.
Greek politics is “waist-deep in mud” these days due to its “thousandth” corruption case, with alleged payments from Swiss pharmaceuticals firm Novartis to 10 prominent politicians, including two former prime ministers, the current head of the Bank of Greece and a European commissioner still in office, the latter newspaper reported (APMHE 56779). Novartis’ name did not appear in the headline or the first paragraph of the story.
El País said that according to Der Spiegel, this is the most serious scandal in the country’s history and has taken political tension to new extremes.
On Thursday evening, the Greek parliament decided to create an investigation commission, the only body which would be authorised to sue former or current members of the government over crimes committed while in office, La Vanguardia and El Diario Vasco report.
The Novartis scandal is regarded by some as a pretext to take the public’s attention off the Macedonia dispute, a headache for Greece’s current government, El País said.
The Novartis bribery allegations have become more troublesome with a criminal lawsuit filed against Tsipras by former prime minister Andonis Samarás alleging defamation. Samarás is one of the alleged participants in the Novartis scheme, the newspaper added.

Board renewal at Spanish generics association

The Spanish association of generics manufacturers (AESEG) has renewed its board and changed its structure, financial El Economista and medical journal Redacción Médica report on Friday.
AESEG will have a new operative structure, with three of its members taking over the former president’s duties. The names of the three board members who will have this responsibility have not been disclosed, Redacción Médica notes.
The new organisation will better represent AESEG’s different working groups and will grant the general direction more responsibilities, El Economista reports.

Positive Phase III for Celgene in Behçet’s disease

Celgene’s psoriasis drug Otezla (apremilast) is effective to treat oral ulcers in Behçet disease according to the results of the Relief study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, Europa Press agency, financial El Economista, medical journals Gaceta Médica, Redacción Médica and Diario Médico reported on Thursday. (APMHE 56950)
A statistically significant improvement in oral ulcers was observed after 12 weeks of treatment with Otezla in the study, which included 207 patients, El Economista reported.
Secondary endpoints such as pain caused by ulcers, global disease activity and quality of life were also met by the drug, El Economista noted.

New tool to predict breast cancer response to chemo

Researchers from Columbia University in New York have developed a diagnostic test based on near-infrared light to identify how breast cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy in just two weeks, daily ABC and IM Médico Hospitalario reported on Wednesday.
ABC quoted study co-leader Andreas Hielscher as saying: “There is currently no method to predict outcome of chemotherapy early on in treatment, so this is a major advance”.
Dawn Hershman, study co-leader, said it is key to identify responders at early stages in order to adapt treatment accordingly and avoid adverse effects, ABC added.

Shire warns of 'limited growth'

Shire’s sales grew more than expected - by 33% - in 2017, mainly driven by the acquisition of Baxalta. However, growth in diluted earnings per share will be below sales growth due to the cost of its new plant in the U.S. and increased generic competition, financial El Economista reported on Tuesday. (APMHE 56880)
The financial quoted Elizabeth Krutoholow, from Bloomberg Intelligence, as saying: “Shire is ready to grow beyond the 2018 horizon in its rare diseases and immunology divisions”.
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