Press review

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Newly appointed Spanish health minister set to abolish copayments

Country : Spain, U.S.

Keywords :
MADRID, 8 June (APM) - On Wednesday, financial Cinco Días carried a story about the most likely first moves of newly appointed Spanish health minister Carmen Montón, starting with the abolition of the regulation that ended free drugs for pensioners.
Montón, who was health chief in Valencia region, has said that the copayment scheme implemented by the previous government in its royal decree 16/2012 has failed to curb the country’s drug expenditure. Instead, it has caused suffering and affected the population’s health.
The financial quoted Montón as saying recently: “Cuts and copayment do not work as savings strategies; they affect the quality and safety of healthcare and create inequality in access”. (APMHE 51246)
Among the upcoming challenges the new minister will have to face, Cinco Días mentioned the debate on sustainability and funding of healthcare in autonomous regions, strategies to afford increasingly expensive innovative drugs and a decision on whether to maintain or end the agreement with branded pharma lobby Farmaindustria. (APMHE 51126)
On Wednesday, daily El Español reported that executives from private healthcare companies, who chose to remain anonymous, distrust both Montón and the newly appointed budget minister, María Jesús Montero, who was the health chief in Andalusia when drug tenders were launched in the region. The newspaper quoted one executive as calling Montón and Montero “an explosive cocktail”. (APMHE 58390)

Genomic testing to avoid chemo in early-stage breast cancer

Thousands of women with early-stage breast cancer - up to 70% of all patients - could skip chemotherapy thanks to the new genomic Oncotype DX Test, discussed at the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, dailies El País, El Diario, El Periódico, La Vanguardia and EFE agency reported on Monday.
El País quoted Joan Albanell, from Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, as saying that currently half of breast cancer patients in Spain could benefit from this test, which identifies patients with a good prognosis who do not need chemotherapy to have their cancer successfully treated. Globally, the percentage could reach as many as 70% of people with the most common type of breast cancer, he added.
La Vanguardia quoted Larry Norton, from the New York Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as saying: “This is an important finding. It means that at least 100,000 patients in the U.S. would not need chemo”.
Dailies El Mundo and ABC carried unrelated ASCO stories on Thursday and Tuesday, respectively. Both reported the case of Judy Denkins, a patient with “incurable” breast cancer who was successfully treated with a new “highly personalised” technique, whose results were presented in Chicago, El Mundo reported. (APMHE 58377)

AstraZeneca files Duaklir in U.S.

Barcelona-based Almirall has announced that its British partner AstraZeneca has filed Duaklir in the U.S. for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), daily ABC and financial Expansión reported on Saturday.
Almirall has registered the filing with the Spanish agency which supervises the stock market, ABC reported.
The filing of Duaklir, a combination of aclidinium and formoterol, uses data from the Phase III AMPLIFY trial, whose results were disclosed in September last year. According to this study, the drug significantly improves lung function in stable COPD from moderate to very severe, ABC reported.
The filing brings Almirall closer to the sales-related milestones which will trigger additional payments from AstraZeneca as agreed by the two firms in its 2014 deal, the daily noted. (APMHE 39255)

Racism not a known side effect - Sanofi

Following American actress and producer Roseanne Barr’s claim that Sanofi’s sedative Ambien had something to do with her racist insults to an African American former White House adviser via Twitter, the pharmaceuticals firm responded that racism is not a known side effect of any of its products, daily El Mundo reported on Monday. (APMHE 58319)
Barr’s sitcom has been cancelled due to her comments, El Mundo noted.

Bayer drops Monsanto name

Bayer will not use the name Monsanto after its acquisition is completed, daily El País reported on Tuesday.
Monsanto has “an awful global reputation”, so the group will only use the Bayer name from now on. Only a few commercial brands linked to Monsanto will be maintained due to their popularity after the $63 billion operation, El País reported. (APMHE 58426)
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