Press review

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UK gets new health minister in Brexit cabinet reshuffle

Country : China, India, Ireland, Japan, U.S., UK

Keywords :
LONDON, 13 July (APM) - The UK's health and social care secretary, Jeremy Hunt, left his position to become foreign secretary on Monday as part of a controversial overhaul of prime minister Theresa May's cabinet.
His replacement is culture secretary Matt Hancock. (APMHE 58858). The news was reported widely, including by the FT, The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and The Daily Mail. Boris Johnson resigned as foreign secretary in disagreement with May's plans for Britain's exit from the EU.
Hunt was the health secretary since 2012, making him the cabinet minister who has served longest in the same post, the FT noted, adding that he refused a move to the business department earlier this year, arguing that he wanted to dedicate himself to the health and social care system.
Since then, Theresa May has pledged £20.5 billion to the National Health Service over five years, providing there is a plan for improving efficiency (APMHE 58535).

BTG faces investor revolt over finance chief's pay

The chief executive of UK pharma BTG faces a showdown with investors over payments to her former finance director, it has been reported in the British press. (APMHE 58840)
The Sunday Times said Dr Louise Makin is under pressure after the shareholder adviser ISS raised an alert over stock awards and bonuses due to be paid to Rolf Soderstrom
He stepped down in December after a decade with the company but will receive performance-based payments until next year, the paper added.
ISS has recommended shareholders vote against BTG's remuneration report at its annual meeting later this month, it said.

Pfizer postpones drug price increases after Trump criticism

Pfizer has postponed price increases on 100 products after public criticism from U.S. president Donald Trump, said the FT on Wednesday (APMHE 58856).
Trump said on Twitter early this week that Pfizer “should be ashamed” of itself after earlier reports that the pharma giant had increased the list prices of dozens of its drugs, including Viagra (sildenafil), cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) and arthritis treatment Xeljanz (tofacitinib)
The FT later reported that Pfizer's chief executive Ian Read decided to postpone the increases following a telephone conversation with Trump.

Pfizer restructures business after failing to sell consumer health unit

Pfizer announced a reorganisation of its business after a failed attempt to sell its consumer health division, the FT said on Wednesday.
From 2019, the company will be split into three divisions: off-patent drugs, innovative products and consumer health.
The move comes after Pfizer confirmed in May that it has not received an “acceptable” offer for the consumer unit.

Indivior shares fall 30% after U.S. market shift

Shares in UK opioid addiction treatment specialist Indivior fell 32% after it warned shareholders that its guidance for this financial year is “no longer valid” after an abrupt shift in U.S. market conditions, the FT reported on Wednesday.
In a statement, the pharma company said it is “seeing the impact” of a rival generic film product sold in the U.S. by India’s Dr Reddy’s, adding it is seeking to stop this through the courts.
The revenue impact could be $25 million for the 2018 financial year, the FT noted, adding the company also expects a minimum of a $50 million revenue hit from discounting in generic tablets.

U.S. regulator approves Takeda’s proposed £46 billion Shire takeover

Takeda Pharmaceutical has been given U.S. Fedeal Trade Commission clearance for its £46 billion takeover of Irish drugmaker Shire, the FT reported on Tuesday (APMHE 58857).
The paper said this clears a “significant” hurdle to completing Japan’s largest-ever outbound acquisition, as Takeda seeks to win investor backing for the deal, which would catapult the Japanese drugmaker into the ranks of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. 
The company is still undergoing antitrust review in other major markets such as Japan, Europe and China.

China to accelerate price cuts for cancer drugs

China will accelerate price cuts for cancer drugs, the FT said on Monday.
The paper picked up a report by the Communist party-run People’s Daily that cited an official at China’s newly formed state medical insurance administration.
It said that targets for reductions include Eli Lilly’s Pemetrexed, Novartis’ Letrozole and Roche’s Capecitabine.

Wellcome Trust sets up £250 million fund

UK research foundation the Wellcome Trust is setting up the £250 million ‘Leap Fund’ for research that could transform health, the FT said on Tuesday.
The paper said that the trust is looking to support projects that would be unlikely to win grants from regular peer review panels for funding applications.

GSK loses name trademark dispute over Apollo’s Zanamol

Small UK firm Apollo Generics has defeated GlaxoSmithKline in a dispute about over-the-counter painkiller Zanamol, The Times said on Thursday.
GSK had opposed the trademark on the name of the drug, saying it was too similar in name and class specification to Panadol, which is one of the biggest selling brands of paracetamol-based pain relief in the UK.
The UK Intellectual Property Office, however, ruled in favour of Apollo Generics, saying healthcare professionals and members of the public would not be confused between the two names.

Ireland could save €140 million each year by increasing uptake of generics

The Times on Thursday picked up a report that says Ireland could save almost €140 million a year if it introduces measures to encourage the use of generic drugs.
Trade body Medicines for Ireland (MFI), which represents the generics industry in Ireland, also claimed that drug costs for the state and for patients will rise without several reforms.

Eusa’s Qarziba backed by NICE for neuroblastoma after discount

Eusa Pharma’s Qarziba (dinutuximab beta) was recommended by NICE for reimbursement on the NHS to treat children with high-risk neuroblastoma after the company agreed to a discount, it was reported in both The Times and the Guardian on Thursday (APMHE 58893).
Both papers led their stories by saying it was the cancer that killed six-year-old Bradley Lowery, a fan of Sunderland football club who came to media prominence last year when he received Qarziba during clinical trials, which his mother said helped to temporarily clear the cancer.
His mother Gemma Lowery said she was “overjoyed” the recommendation from NICE, which is based on Eusa providing the drug to the NHS at a confidential discount to its list price of £152,200 for a typical course of treatment for a child.

Brexit puts drug supplies at risk, says EMA

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has warned that the supply of more than 100 drugs manufactured in the UK is a risk of disruption after Brexit (APMHE 58874), said the FT on Wednesday.
The regulator’s assessment is based on a survey of action taken by pharma companies to safeguard the supply of almost 700 products whose marketing authorisations were granted in the UK.
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