Press review

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Bracco forms R&D oncology partnership with Shanghai Pharmaceuticals

MILAN, 25 May (APM) - Bracco has formed an R&D partnership with Shanghai Pharmaceuticals aimed at developing support for the Chinese group’s innovative oncology drugs pipeline, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
Bracco Imaging will provide services through its ‘microbubbles' platform. According to the paper, the technology has already transformed medical imaging with a non-invasive scan through ultrasound combined with contrasting. It provides a better view of cardiac cavities, large vessels and tissue vascularity.
The partners intend to use the platform to support the development of Shanghai Pharmaceuticals' innovative drugs in oncology, the paper said. Fulvio Renaldo, Bracco’s CEO, suggested the agreement will reinforce the long-term partnership between the two groups. It will also provide an opportunity to expand the use of microbubbles into new fields by targeting angiogenesis in an effective and safe way.
The innovative monitoring technology from Bracco will be combined with a new immuno-oncology therapy from Shanghai Pharmaceuticals. It will allow the Chinese group to address a very significant, unmet medical need in pancreatic cancer, the paper said.
Bracco takes around 10% of its €1.3 billion sales from the Chinese market, which has grown to become its second-biggest and one of the fastest growing.

Pharma confident about new government - Farmindustria chief

The head of pharma lobby group Farmindustria is confident the new government will take the right approach to the industry, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.
Massimo Scaccabarozzi was commenting on the latest figures about hospital drugs spending, which was €1.7 billion over budget in 2017 (APMHE 58192). He suggested that talks need to be held to decide how to reform the reimbursement system.
“We are confident about the new government because all the political forces have declared that they care about public health and the pharmaceuticals sector,” he told the paper.
Elsewhere in the interview, Scaccabarozzi claimed that Italy is at the cutting edge of cost-effectiveness agreements for innovative drugs. “Even the U.S. president Donald Trump has put [them] in his reforms proposal,” he said.
But he also highlighted the contribution made by companies to keeping the system affordable. “The companies have paid €2.5 billion in the last year and a half. This needs to be taken into account,” he said.

Outgoing health minister warns new government on vaccines

Italy's outgoing health minister has warned the new government about dropping compulsory vaccinations, Il Messaggero reported on Saturday.
The contract on which the League and Five Star Movement plan to base their programme for government specifies that vaccines will be recommended but not made mandatory.
Beatrice Lorenzin described this as a “dangerous step back” and expressed concern that immunisation cover will decline. “We have had a measles epidemic, which is a very important signal. Recent deaths in Sicily show what happens when you start missing population cohorts in vaccination campaigns,” she said.
Lorenzin appeared less worried about the new government’s attitude to other aspects of health policy, such as reform of the drugs reimbursement system. She suggested that the processes had already been started during her term as health minister and it would be difficult to change them.

New drugs to prolong life for AIDS patients

New drugs will transform the lives of people living with AIDS, Adnkronos reported on Tuesday.
Somebody who contracts HIV infection today can expect to have a similar lifespan to the general population, it said.
Massimo Adreoni, president of the scientific committee of the Italian Conference on AIDS and antiviral research, told the news agency that existing treatments have been good at controlling the reproduction of the virus, but comorbidity remains a problem.
He identified a new class of drugs, integrase inhibitors, as taking treatment to a new level, highlighting the arrival of Gilead’s three-in-one tablet Biktarvy (bictegravir) as especially significant.
According to Adreoni, Italy has 130,000 HIV patients, and every year around 4,000 more people are infected. He said there is a real prospect that drugs will be developed in the future to cure the infection.

Italy highlights need for universal access to drugs at WHO assembly

Italian health minister Beatrice Lorenzin highlighted creating universal access to drugs as a priority during her speech to the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Tuesday.
She stressed that equality in healthcare cannot be achieved if innovative cancer drugs, hepatitis C therapies and vaccines are not available to everyone, the online publication said.
She told the meeting that Italy strives to provide equal access to preventative, diagnostic, palliative and rehabilitation services. As a result, the country enjoys one of the highest life expectancy rates, which is continuing to increase despite an ageing population, new diseases and challenges to the social and economic systems.
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