MILAN, 23 Mar (APM) - Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni carries the most responsibility for the failure to bring the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Milan, according to Monday’s Corriere della Sera.
The paper noted that he only sent an undersecretary to the Council of Europe when the decision to relocate to Amsterdam was discussed. The Netherlands had their foreign minister there. In addition, Corriere della Sera said Gentiloni had failed to bring up Italy’s concern’s about the procedures used in meetings with his German and French counterparts, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.
However, the paper believes Gentiloni can still redeem himself as unease about the decision continues. The European parliament may have voted not to overturn the choice of Amsterdam but, according to the paper, there has been strong criticism “behind closed doors” about the procedure used.
It claimed documents were kept secret during the process and ballot papers were burned immediately after the votes. In addition, there are concerns about Amsterdam’s capacity to have a new headquarters ready on time.
“The outgoing government of Gentiloni, which has so far restricted itself to an appeal against Amsterdam to the European Court of Justice, could ask for the case to be reopened, citing the anomalies which have been confirmed by the European parliament as the reason,” the paper wrote.
Italy’s HCV eradication programme slowed by regional problems
Italy’s programme to eradicate hepatitis C virus infection has been slowed as regional centres struggle to identify new patients, according to Thursday’s La Repubblica.
Last year, medicines agency AIFA set a target of treating 80,000 people a year, the paper noted. The drug companies continue to launch new HCV products on the market, which has resulted in significantly lower prices, and restrictions on who can be treated have been lifted.
Nonetheless, in 2017 the number treated was little more than 45,000, well short of the target, the paper said. That means more than 120,000 people have been treated in total.
The paper estimates there are still 230,000 more still to be treated. If the slowdown continues, it will take a lot longer than the three years originally forecast to complete the job.
Italians have contradictory views on new drugs - survey
The results of a survey show that Italians have contradictory views on new drugs, Libero reported on Sunday.
The paper said the study was presented at a conference organised by Merck Sharp & Dohme Italia. Just 8% of respondents judged access to innovative drugs to be a priority, despite 97% saying it is important for cancer patients to be able to use the latest therapies and 29% recognising scientific research as important in healthcare.
The head of MSD Italia, Nicoletta Luppi, took part in a debate on innovation, big data and regulation. She highlighted the role of pharma as a partner to government institutions, the scientific world and patients’ associations.
“We believe the value of our work is seen in giving patients rapid access to innovative therapies while recognising the investments made in R&D in full respect of the sustainability of the national health service,” she said.
Australia targets eradication of cervical cancer in 20 years
Australia is targeting eradication of cervical cancer within 20 years through vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), Italia Oggi reported on Thursday.
The paper said a study commissioned by the health department showed that the number of women with the two types of virus most likely to cause cancer fell by 23% between 2005 and 2015. The conclusion was that the provision of free vaccinations for 12-13 year-old girls since 2007 and for boys since 2013 was behind the decline.
Currently, Australia has vaccination coverage of 80% for girls and 75% for boys, the paper said. From this year a vaccine is available against another five types of the virus, which is likely to further reduce risks.
Italia Oggi said that 82 countries around the world, including Italy, have launched vaccination campaigns against HPV.
Pharma exports help drive down Italy’s trade deficit with Germany
Strong pharma exports to Germany have helped to drive down Italy’s trade deficit with the country, according to Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The Italy/Germany chamber of commerce presented figures which showed that trading between the two EU member states increased by 7.6% in 2017. Chemical/pharmaceutical exports from Italy accounted for 11.4% of the total, behind machinery (13.6%) and steel products (11.5%).
Italy’s trade with Germany is worth €121 billion, not far behind that of the UK, which is stuck at €121.5 billion. Brexit is said to have caused a slowdown in the UK’s trade with its main EU partner. Exports from UK to Germany fell from third place to fifth as China and the Netherlands moved ahead.