WARSAW, Mar 9 (APM) - The Patients’ Ombudsman in Poland claims patients should have access to the reimbursable originator transplant drugs they use at constant prices, even if new, cheaper generics are added to the reimbursement list, which currently increases the prices of the originator medicines, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA18) on Monday.
Bartlomiej Chmielowiec says the choice of the best suited drug should be made by doctors and not by the Ministry of Health, which claims that originator and generic transplant drugs may be safely switched at any time without any risk.
The matter is serious, as some patients are considering not undergoing their planned transplants, because they are afraid of having to change their drugs in the middle of treatment. Transplantologists say patients should not be forced to switch to generics because this increases the risk of serious complications, including transplant rejection and death.
Inadequate pain treatment standards in ambulances
Patient organisations and health experts say pain treatment standards in ambulances should be improved, reported Gazeta Wyborcza (p3) on Saturday.
The analysis of 70,000 ambulance injury callouts in 2016 and 2017 conducted by experts from the Medical University of Gdansk shows 84% of patients receiving assistance did not receive appropriate analgesics, whereas most of them received small doses of ketoprofen. This issue also applied to children, because only 20% of them received pain treatment in an ambulance, while the treatment was only appropriate in 4% of these cases.
Paramedics are currently authorised to administer 47 drugs to patients, including strong analgesics, such as fentanyl and morphine. However, they often either cannot communicate with patients to ask about potential allergies, or are afraid that doctors will have difficulty with accurately diagnosing patients after strong analgesics are administered to them.
According to professor Andrzej Basinski, it is important to improve the education process of both paramedics and doctors to change their mind-sets and get them used to the notion that injured patients require proper pain treatment as soon as possible.
The Ministry of Health has already prepared new regulations, according to which paramedics will be obliged to measure the levels of pain suffered by patients before and after the administration of analgesics. The regulations could take effect in the second quarter of the year.
Personalised medicine efficacy
Health experts discussed the importance of personalised medicine at the third International Conference on Personalized Medicine in Warsaw this week, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA12) and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pA7) on Wednesday.
The experts emphasised the importance of personalised treatment and argued that this approach has significantly improved the results of cancer treatment.
Targeted drugs already account for 73% of all drugs used in melanoma, 51% in bowel cancer, 32% in breast cancer and 21% in head and neck cancer. Furthermore, global spending on personalised medicine has doubled over the last five years and over 40% of drugs currently under development can be classified as targeted.
The experts agreed that personalised medicine will also be increasingly used outside cancer treatment, as it is already proving useful in cardiology, rheumatology, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, reported both newspapers.
Healthcare spending could remain insufficient
Marcin Szuba, manager of the Globalny Fundusz Medyczny FIZ fund investing in the healthcare sector, claims the increase in healthcare spending recently proposed by officials will still be insufficient, reports Puls Biznesu (p2 - 3) on Friday.
The government recently declared that healthcare spending will increase from the current 4.5-5% to 6% of GDP by 2024, which is an additional 35 billion zlotys (8.3 billion euros) a year. However, Szuba says that even the declared 6% is much less than in other European countries, while the officials should remember that, even though spending will increase, the costs of running the healthcare system will also increase due to population ageing and generally increasing prices of health services and drugs.
Szuba says that the problem of insufficient money in the system is somewhat masked by the fact that access to many reimbursable drugs is extremely restrictive and a significant number of patients do not meet the criteria of reimbursement of the drugs they should receive.
GLG Pharma could soon start clinical trials of GLG-801
GLG Pharma has filed the documentation required to start the clinical trials of its triple negative breast cancer oral drug, GLG-801, and is hoping to receive acceptance from the Ethics Committee and the Office for the Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products within several weeks, reported Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p3) on Monday.
Since GLG-801 contains the same active ingredient, pyrimethamine, as the already registered AIDS drug, Daraprim. The company claims the clinical trials should be shorter and cheaper, with Phase I lasting up to four months and Phase II starting before the end of the year. The company is also working on an intravenous form of the drug, GLG-805, which is in the pre-clinical stage of development and has been administered to the first group of animal subjects.
Piotr Sobis, GLG Pharma’s chief executive, said the company could begin partnership negotiations with larger players in early 2019.
Celon Pharma continues trials of its esketamine-based inhalant for depression
Celon Pharma announced the completion of the second phase of the Phase I trials of its inhalant based on esketamine that could be used in drug resistant depression, reported Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p5) on Thursday.
Maciej Wieczorek said the results of the trials have been very promising so far, Phase I should end in May 2018, while the drug could be marketed within four to five years. The company will most probably compete with Johnson & Johnson, which is also working on a similar drug, but in the form of a nasal spray, which, according to Wieczorek, is a less convenient and precise form of administration than Celon Pharma’s inhalant.
According to estimates, annual sales of esketamine used in drug resistant depression could be as high as $2-3 billion. Celon’s current biggest revenue generator is Salmex, an asthma drug sold mainly in Poland and on several smaller European markets. However, Celon should start selling it in Scandinavia within several weeks and intends to register it in Germany and the UK.