MADRID, 5 July (APM) - On Monday, daily La Razón, the third biggest national newspaper by number of readers in Spain, carried a story praising the pharmaceutical industry's transparency, its contribution to the economy and the education of healthcare professionals, as well as the innovation it brings to patients.
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the key driving forces of the Spanish economy, accounting for 20.3% of R&D investment in the country. Among its representatives, there is no doubt about the necessity, legitimacy and contribution to the good of the community of its collaboration with healthcare professional associations and individuals, “particularly in terms of therapeutical advances and the quality of healthcare”, the story began.
At the recent presentation of Spanish branded pharma lobby Farmaindustria’s annual report, the group noted 25 new drugs were made available for Spanish patients last year, La Razón reported.
The newspaper said: “The collaboration of all stakeholders creates a virtuous circle where everyone wins: healthcare professionals, because they get up-to-date education and improve their knowledge about medicines; pharma, which can put healthcare professionals’ clinical experience to the better use; the healthcare system, because its staff gets cutting-edge drugs; patients and society as a whole, because these services are for them”.
That is why since the beginning of the last decade, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the EU’s trade body for innovative pharma, has taken an important step towards the regulation of these collaborations to guarantee the independent functioning of all parts. In Spain, this move has translated into Farmaindustria’s code of conduct, the newspaper added. (APMHE 58085
Farmaindustria’s code of practice and its transparency plan are pioneers among Spanish industries, “an honest, brave move”, La Razón reported.
Class action against Bayer, national medicines agency and one medical society
Thirty women are pursuing a class action lawsuit against Bayer, Spanish regulator AEMPS and the Spanish Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (SEGO) over the side effects of contraceptive implant Essure and “science fraud” in use of the device, it was widely reported on Thursday.
Those affected claim there has been “scientific fraud” because the information about Essure, which was supported by the SEGO and produced by Bayer, is defective, misleading and does not comply with honest medical criteria, medical journal Redacción Médica reported.
Francisco Almodóvar, the plaintiffs’ attorney, told EFE agency that side effects are similar in affected women, including severe abdominal and pelvic pain, haemorrhage, device displacement and cramps. They disappear with the withdrawal of the implant, he noted.
Dailies El Periódico, La Vanguardia and a number of regional newspapers also carried the story.
Pharma ranking by seasonal allergy drugs
On Wednesday, financial Cinco Días carried a story with the headline: “Which pharmaceutical companies benefit from seasonal allergies?”
Sales of antihistamines did not reach their peak until May this year due to abundant rain and lower temperatures than other years. Spain’s Faes Farma and Almirall are some of the strong firms in this area, the financial noted.
Cinco Días quoted data provided by consulting firm Iqvia as saying that sales of allergy drugs, including antihistamines, decongestants, respiratory and ophthalmic medicines, fell 4% to €205.6 million up to May 2018 compared to the same period of the previous year. However, as of May demand grew 4.4%, with the sale of 3.3 million units during that month.
According to Iqvia, this season sales started later than normal due to unusual weather, and it forecast considerable sales in June, too. The best-selling drug for seasonal allergies in Spanish community pharmacies was Bilaxten (bilastine), manufactured by Basque firm Faes Farma, with €24.9 million over the past 12 months.
Catalonia’s Almirall follows with Ebastel (ebastine), with €20.4 million in sales in the same period.
By sales of seasonal allergy drugs, the top pharma companies are Merck & Co and generic firms Menarini, Cinfa, Normon, Aristo, UCB Pharma, Mylan and Kern, the financial added.
Reimbursed drugs account for 98.5% of sales in this area, Cinco Días noted.
Common antihypertensives recalled over suspected contamination
Spanish regulator AEMPS has announced the recall of over 100 medicines containing valsartan, which might have been contaminated with carcinogenic N-nitrosodimethylamine, it is being widely reported on Friday.
Sources from the Spanish health ministry told daily ABC it is “key” that patients do not stop taking their medicines without talking to their doctors. The affected lots were distributed by Kern Pharma, Alter, Cinfa, Normon, Pensa Pharma, Sandoz, Almus, Aurovitas Spain, Combix, Ranbaxy, Stada, Qualigen, Ratiopharm, Tarbis, Tecnimede España and Tedec-Meiji Farma, the newspaper reports. (APMHE 58822
The contamination was detected following changes in the manufacturing process in China and affects the whole European market, ABC reports.
Dailies El País, La Razón, El Mundo, 20 Minutos, La Vanguardia, El Español, Europa Press and Efe agencies and a number of regional newspapers also carry the story.
Insufficient uptake of PrEP for HIV prevention
On Wednesday, daily El País carried a lengthy story about a delay in access to PrEP therapy for HIV prevention among infected patients in Spain.
According to the newspaper, a number of patient associations and professional groups with a focus on HIV prevention agree that "ideology" is the reason for this barrier in access to Truvada. El País did not offer any more details on this “explanation”.
The drug was approved in Europe in August 2016. It is available in France, Norway, Belgium, Luxemburg, Scotland and Portugal, the newspaper added.