WARSAW, 17 Aug (APM) - Parents are warning there are shortages of an anaphylactic shock drug for children in Polish pharmacies, but the Ministry of Health (MoH) is playing down the problem, reports Gazeta Wyborcza (p1) on Friday.
The problem applies to EpiPen Junior. Parents claim they have been experiencing problems with obtaining the drug from pharmacies in the past month. The drug costs 250 zlotys (€58) and is not reimbursed. It appears that pharmacies have been taking it off their shelves after learning that its automatic syringe jammed in one case in Japan.
The officials claim the shortages are just temporary and say patients suffering from allergies are perfectly fine using its equivalents, such as Adrenalina WZF and Andrenalina WZF 0.1%. However, experts say these two products are only suitable for adults and older children, while being unsuitable for infants because of the higher dosage, which leaves parents with no choice but to reduce it manually. Additionally, in contrast with Adrenalina WZF, EpiPen Junior does not need to be refrigerated, making it a more convenient choice.
The MoH claims EpiPen Junior should become fully available in pharmacies by the end of the month.
Innovative familial hypercholesterolemia treatment registered in Europe
PCSK9 inhibitors, a new group of medicines for preventing familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), which has been registered in Europe, could replace LDL apheresis, which is currently the prevailing method of combating the disease in Poland, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA9) on Tuesday.
HeFH is a genetic disease with symptoms of high levels of total cholesterol as well as low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Treatment with PCSK9 inhibitors is not only much less invasive than the traditional LDL apheresis but also much more effective. According to professor Adam Witkowski, president of the Polish Cardiac Society, the medicines can reduce the cholesterol level by 60% and, combined with statins, by up to 80%.
This treatment may be a tremendous opportunity for patients after acute coronary syndrome and those, whose total cholesterol level does not decline despite using statins, who may have prematurely suffered from a cerebral stroke or a heart attack.
The Ministry of Health did not comment on whether the PCSK9 inhibitor would be reimbursed for patients with HeFH this year.
NanoVelos working on cancer treatment
NanoVelos is continuing to develop a project of combining its drug delivery platform with epirubicin, which could be used to treat various types of cancer, reports Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p2) on Friday.
Adam Kiciak from NanoVelos claims the company’s delivery platform enables the drug to be targeted at cancer cells more effectively, while reducing the risk of damaging healthy cells, which has been confirmed by several tests. The company claims its method has helped reduce the size of tumours by up to 35%. Meanwhile, NanoVelos has completed pre-clinical trials.
Although NanoVelos has been conducting its tests on animals so far, human trials could start by the end of 2019. The company intends to look for a business partner, preferably a large pharma player, before it moves forward with them.