MADRID, 22 June (APM) - Manufacturing difficulties at Bayer’s plant in Leverkusen have caused problems in supplies of cardioaspirin Adiro, it has been widely reported this week.
On Monday, financial El Economista carried the headline: “Bayer leaves half of Spain without Adiro”. Shortages started in April and will not be resolved until the beginning of August, according to the Spanish health ministry, the financial noted.
Ministry sources told El Economista that patients who need this drug should not worry because there are a number of generic versions available across Spain’s community pharmacies, some of which already had considerable stock of the product anyway.
Thirteen out of 17 Spanish autonomous regions have been affected by the shortage, the financial added.
On Friday, daily ABC carries a follow-up story adding that shortages of three other commonly-used drugs have been happening over the past weeks. These are Sanofi’s painkiller Nolotil (metamizole magnesium) and Urbason (methylprednisolone) and Merck &Co's rhinitis drug Aerius (desloratadine).
Dailies 20 Minutos, La Vanguardia, El Español, medical journal Redacción Médica and a number of regional newspapers also carried the story.
Prominent researchers call for wayward firms to be exposed
Spanish neurologist Juan Fueyo, whose team has developed a virus used in a new immunotherapy for glioblastoma, discussed prices of new cancer drugs with daily El País. The interview was published on Wednesday.
Fueyo referred to an editorial published last year in The New England Journal of Medicine, where a call for new policies to ensure all patients get access to the medicines they need.
CAR-T immunotherapies are already in the hands of pharmaceutical companies and they follow the rules of the market; if demand is higher, it would be only logical that prices would fall. However, the NEJM editorial warned this may not be the case with CAR-T based medicines, he noted.
A number of these new cancer medicines are being developed in public academic institutions, such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and public universities. Hence, the investment required from pharma is not so high as one might think, and this should also be reflected in their prices, which should be lower than those currently proposed, Fueyo told El País.
“Besides, a social effort to unmask pharmaceutical companies which try to abuse the system is needed. Physicians, researchers and governments must create social pressure so that prices are reduced as much as possible so that they can be affordable for the highest number of patients,”,he added.
Drug copayment did not curb expenditure
Experts in healthcare economics at a meeting in Gran Canaria have said drug co-payment as implemented by the previous government failed to curb drug expenditure and affected families access to medicines, dailies El Mundo, Qué, medical journal Diario Médico and Europa Press agency reported on Thursday. (APMHE 58439
The daily quoted Beatriz González, president of the Spanish Association of Health Economics (AES) as saying: “Drug copayment did not succeed in persuading patients of using unnecessary medicines. Instead, it assigned public costs to families, increasing inequality.”
According to experts present at the meeting, from 2006 to 2015, families increased their drug spend by 52%, whereas other common expenditures, such as that devoted to housing or food, only grew by 3% in that period, El Mundo noted.
Abolishing copayment would help the economy by increasing pensioners’ income according to newly appointed minister for work, migration and social security Magdalena Valerio, El Mundo added.
Speaking at the Spanish parliament on Wednesday, Valerio said pensioners have suffered the financial crisis, the increase in cost of daily living due to drug copayment and cuts in the law that regulates disability.
Diario Médico reported that 18 months after copayment was implemented, data on drug use had gone back to the same figures before the move, failing to curb demand as the government of Mariano Rajoy had argued to implement the royal decree which ended free drugs for pensioners.
Roche takes control of Foundation Medicine
Roche has agreed to pay $2.4 billion to take full control of U.S. Foundation Medicine, daily La Vanguardia, financial Expansión and EFE agency reported on Wednesday. (APMHE 58561
Roche expects to close the operation in the second half of this year, Expansión reported.