Press review

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Trump to unveil measures to tackle drug prices, U.S. calls out ‘freeloading countries’

Country : Australia, Ireland, U.S., UK

Keywords :
LONDON, 11 May (APM) - U.S. president Donald Trump is set to unveil a series of measures to bring down drug prices, the FT is reporting on Friday.
The paper references senior administration officials who said that one of four policy priorities was addressing the disproportionate benefits they claim foreign governments and consumers get from U.S. innovation in drug research.
One official told the paper: “The problem with the foreign freeloading is obviously that the U.S. - both the taxpayer through publicly funded research efforts as well as patients and consumers through higher costs for prescription drugs - are largely paying for the vast majority of the R&D that goes into the development of new biologics and pharmaceutical drugs.”
The Trump administration official pointed to “tighter price controls” in countries where government has a bigger role in healthcare as the reason why they “don’t pay their fair share of the costs associated with the development of these drugs”.
Other priorities to tackle U.S. drug prices include tackling high list prices for drugs, stemming a rise in out-of-pocket costs for consumers, and fixing rules that prevent health plans from negotiating lower prices for senior citizens.

Novartis alleged to make payments to Trump’s lawyer

The lawyer for U.S. president Donald Trump allegedly receive more than $1 million from companies including Novartis, the FT said on Wednesday (APMHE 58049).
The allegations were made by Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels), the porn star who is suing Trump.

Shire and Takeda agree £46 billion takeover deal

Takeda’s agreement to acquire Shire for £46 billion was widely reported on Tuesday.
The FT, The Guardian, The Times and the Daily Telegraph all covered the deal, which came after weeks of negotiations.
Shire shareholders will receive 0.839 new Takeda shares for each share. The offer is worth £49.01 a share, about £5 more than Takeda’s initial bid in late March.
Shire's chief executive, Flemming Ornskov, insisted the deal was “in the best interests of shareholders and offers an opportunity to improve the lives of even more patients globally with rare and highly specialised conditions”.

Biogen’s Spinraza recommend for NHS use in Scotland for spinal muscular atrophy

Authorities in Scotland have recommended National Health Service (NHS) use of Biogen’s Spinraza (nusinersen) to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare, inherited muscle-wasting condition, The Times said on Tuesday.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) said the drug was a cost-effective use of NHS resources for children with the most severe form of the condition. It did not approve the treatment for patients with types 2 and 3, because it was found to be less cost-effective in those cases.

Scottish first minister under pressure for deal on Roche’s Perjeta

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is being put under pressure to broker a deal to allow access to Roche’s breast cancer drug Perjeta in the country, said The Times on Friday.
The paper reported comments made by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson who said in first minister’s questions that delays in implementing a better system for negotiating the cost of drugs is leaving Scottish cancer patients facing the prospect of going to Englang for treatment where the drug is available on the NHS.
“In Scotland today, women with secondary breast cancer are faced with a choice: they can move home for a chance to live longer, or they can stay put in the knowledge that that chance is denied them here,” she said. “We urgently need a deal on Perjeta and we need to fix the system now.”

Iterum raising cash to develop new antibiotic

The Sunday Times said Ireland’s Iterum Therapeutics is aiming to raise money by listing on the NASDAQ in order to support late-stage clinical trials for its antibiotic product sulopenem.
Iterum hopes to raise $92 million to develop the drug, which is licensed from Pfizer. The company said its oral and intravenous antibiotic was highly effective against the pathogens associated with urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections. It also treats infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals.

AZN shareholders urged to reject pay report

The FT on Monday said that AstraZeneca is facing the prospect of an investor revolt at its annual meeting this month after an advisory firm called on shareholders to reject bonuses issued by the company.
Institutional Shareholder Services advised shareholders to vote against the company’s pay report, which includes high annual bonuses for senior management.

U.S. hospitals warn of chemotherapy shortages

U.S. hospitals are wanting of a shortage of chemotherapy drugs, the FT said on Wednesday.
The paper said the impending shortages for vincristine and etoposide are due to manufacturing issues.
Jeffrey Rosner, senior director of pharmacy at the Cleveland Clinic, told the paper: “It’s very difficult to change someone in the middle of a chemotherapy protocol to another agent.”

Opioid drug deaths on the rise in Australia

Pharmaceutical opioid-related deaths in Australia now exceed heroin overdoses by between two and two-and-a-half times, The Guardian reported on Monday.
Between March 2016 and February 2018, the country's New South Wales police force say 26% of all drug-related deaths were related to opiates, it noted.
The figures were part of a report on a new coroner's inquest launched following the deaths of six people from opiate-related drug overdoses in May 2016 in the region. It is examining the way addictive painkillers such as fentanyl are prescribed in New South Wales and the dramatic increase in opiate-related overdose deaths in the past decade, the paper wrote.

New weight-loss injection mimics gastric bypass surgery

A hormone injection which is said to help people lose more than a stone in just four weeks has been hailed as ‘the most exciting’ treatment ever found for tackling obesity, The Telegraph reported last Friday evening.
The jab was developed by Scientists at the UK's Imperial College, who are currently completing a human trial into the treatment, the paper said. It is based on reproducing satiety hormones, the chemical signals released by the gut to control digestion and hunger cravings in the brain.
The human trial included 20 patients who took a cocktail of three hormones through a patch and a pump for 28 days and saw weight losses of between four pounds and 1.2 stone, almost as good as results from gastric bypass surgery.
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