MILAN, 24 Aug (APM) - Approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Dompé’s nerve growth factor therapy Oxervate (cenegermin) is seen as an important milestone for Italian research, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The drug is used to treat neurotrophic keratitis, a degenerative disease which can seriously affect the cornea. The FDA announced approval in the U.S. on Wednesday (APMHE 59412
Sergio Dompé, chairman and chief executive of the Italian group, highlighted how the company’s first biotech drug was the result of an extensive team effort. “We developed cenegermin through constant collaboration with the outstanding scientific community that has contributed to the development of the drug in the various phases and in research centres at an international level,” he was reported as saying.
“A long, complex but exciting journey that does not end but begins with this important regulatory step,” he added.
According to the company, Oxervate is the first topical biotechnological treatment in the ophthalmic field. Cenegermin was based on studies by Nobel prizewinner Rita Levi Montalcini, who discovered nerve growth factor together with Stanley Cohen. Dompé took the project forward through R&D partnerships with and international ophthalmology centres of excellence, the paper said.
Huge potential for online OTC pharmacy sales if right skills developed
There is huge potential for Italian pharmacies in selling over-the-counter products online, but only if the right skills are developed, Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday.
Italy’s e-commerce pharmacy market grew 17% in 2017 and had sales of €96 million. Europe as a whole is expected to expand 9.3% by the end of 2021 to €13 billion, the paper said, citing a report by Associazione Italiana Sviluppo Marketing.
Italy’s law was changed in 2014 to allow sales of non-prescription drugs on the web. However, only 55 pharmacies and 100 other retail businesses had applied to the health ministry to be licensed to sell medicines online by April this year. The paper suggested Italy’s failure to capitalise on digital opportunities is part of the reason why over-the-counter drug sales fell by 4.8% in 2017.
Three entrepreneurs, Alberto Trussardi, Andrea Mangilli and Massimiliano Misseri, are hoping to transform the pharmacies’ approach in Italy, the paper. They have created a software service Saas for pharmacists to develop an e-commerce channel for medicine sales.
They claim that pharmacies using the programme have 40% more online sales, generating higher margins than those for offline sales. The 25 pharmacies which use the service have a total of €11 million sales and have seen turnover of their businesses increase significantly, the paper said.
Puglia to enforce mandatory vaccinations as national policy falters
Several cities in Puglia are planning to enforce mandatory vaccination rules despite the national policy having been relaxed by the government, according to Thursday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
Cities such as Foggia and Taranto intend to issue orders which will require children attending nurseries and pre-school education to have medical certificates to prove vaccination. Failure to do so will mean they are excluded from the education facilities, the paper said.
The medical community and health operators have welcomed the initiative,the paper said.
The government has said parents will be allowed to provide their own certificates showing that their children have been vaccinated. However, there are growing doubts about whether these will be considered valid by schools when they open in September.
According to the law introduced by the previous health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, only children who have all the necessary vaccination certificates by 10 July would be allowed to attend nurseries in the coming year.
Italy’s immunisation cover improved but still below target
Italy’s immunisation cover has improved but remains significantly below target, especially for vaccinations which are recommended but not mandatory, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
Cover for pneumococcal immunisation rose to almost 90.90% in 2017 compared to 88.4% the previous year, while for meningococcal C it went from 80.7% to 83.06%. The figures came from the health ministry, which has described cover for recommended vaccines as “too low”, the paper said.
Veneto reports five West Nile deaths but denies emergency
Veneto has reported five deaths form West Nile virus but denied there is any sort of emergency, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.
The region’s health assessor, Luca Coletto, noted that there have only been around 100 confirmed cases out of a population of five million. All five people who died were either elderly or had serious preexisting conditions.