MILAN, 7 Sep (APM) - Resolving Italy’s problems with payback to cover overspending on drugs from previous years - said to involve around €2 billion of past and future payments from pharma -will be one of the priorities for the new head of Italian medicines agency AIFA, according to Wednesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The health minister has proposed Luca Li Bassi as the man to take over as director general (APMHE 59578
). She has to consult with regional governments before she can confirm the appointment, which may take some time. But when the new chief arrives in his office he will find his in-tray already bulging with urgent matters, the paper said.
Issues with payback to cover overspending between 2013-2016 will be among the most important, as will getting the companies to cover a huge shortfall in 2017. Il Sole 24 Ore said around €2 billion is owed to the regions. They have not received the resources because of litigation by pharma companies over the amounts they were required to pay and the accuracy of AIFA’s calculations.
Resolving outstanding payback problems is essential if reform of the reimbursement system and drugs budgets is to start, Il Sole 24 Ore said.
Spending caps will be another important priority. There is one for hospital spending, and another for expenditure on drugs dispensed by pharmacies. The hospital budget is always hugely overspent while the one for pharmacy drugs is normally under budget. Access to innovative drugs and generating biosimilar competition will also be important, the paper suggested.
Government looks to sort out ‘vaccines chaos’
The government is trying to sort out the “chaos” in its vaccines policy, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The latest initiative is an amendment to legislation which will confirm that 10 vaccinations are mandatory for schoolchildren. Previously the obligation had been cancelled, only to be reinstated afterwards. The new measure will allow parents to sign declarations that their children have been vaccinated rather than requiring them to produce medical certificates, the paper said.
However, with just a few days before the new term starts, schools are fearful about the extra administration the new rules will create.
Roche’s Herceptin said to be for sale on Facebook
Roche’s cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) is for sale on Facebook, L’Espresso claimed on Monday.
The magazine’s reporters contacted someone through the social network asking to buy 50 vials of the drug. The response came from someone claiming to be in Ukraine. He offered Herceptin at $165 a vial.
The seller suggested a meeting at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. The reporters were told the drugs were registered in Turkey and had been produced by Roche. They received a photo with the expiry date and the batch number.
The reporters did not go through with the deal. L’Espresso suggested the drugs were likely to have been stolen from one of four countries: Italy, UK, Greece or France. According to the magazine, most of the drugs from Italy sold on the web are stolen from hospitals and health bodies, around half of which have reported robberies in the past five years.
Menarini eyes future growth, expansion of base in Florence
Menarini is eyeing significant future growth and has bought 100,000 m2 of land in the Florence area, around half of which can be used for industrial purposes, in anticipation of the need to expand its facilities, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
Menarini had consolidated revenues of €3.6 billion in 2017, 75% of which came from exports, and an EBITDA of €540 million. Its growth is driven by a big increase in sales in Russia and China, the paper said.
The company has invested around €300 million in R&D and now has 12 products in development, it said. The most important are five monoclonal antibodies which are part of its R&D partnership with Oxford Therapeutics.
Chiesi enters French OTC market, acquires NHCO Nutrition
Chiesi has entered the French over-the-counter market through the acquisition of NHCO Nutrition, La Repubblica reported on Monday.
The Parma-based group already has OTC operations in Italy and Spain and the acquisition is designed to boost this part of its business. NHCO has a specialist food supplement development team and has built an operation with around €12 million of sales.
Chiesi will provide support for NHCO to allow greater development of the company, the paper said.