MILAN, 14 Sep (APM) - Italian regions have approved the health minister’s choice of new AIFA chief, clearing the way for Luca Li Bassi to be appointed as director general of the medicines agency, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The paper said the regions’ decision was accompanied by a brief note to the government with recommendations as to what the new priorities should be for the agency.
The regions have asked that their candidate for the new AIFA president, which will be communicated shortly, be taken into consideration. The regions have no power to veto the appointment of a director general but can block the choice of president, which is a more institutional role.
In addition, the government has been urged to complete the process for the appointment of new members of the scientific and pricing committees inside AIFA whose terms of office came to an end in August. Finally, the regions want reforms of the drugs spending and the reimbursement system to be started soon.
In a separate Thursday article, Il Sole 24 Ore reported that the head of the industry body Farmindustria had congratulated Luca Li Bassi on his nomination to be the new chief.
Massimo Scaccabarozzi expressed confidence that his international experience in healthcare will ensure the medicines agency continues to operate effectively so that patients can receive the treatments they need and Italy continues to attract pharma investment.
“On behalf of the companies affiliated to Farmindustria, I would like to send our best wishes to the director general for his new job and propose continuing collaboration, in respect of our different roles, to build a new governance for the right balance between sustainability and access to innovation,” he was reported as saying.
Amendment to EU HTA regulation could improve access
A decision by the European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on health technology assessment (HTA) could lead to improved access for cancer patients, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Thursday.
Two Italian MEPs, Elisabetta Gardini and Alberto Cirio, had an amendment to Regulation 726/2004 approved by the committee. They were supported by the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) in making the change. The amendment will allow for greater integration of HTA in Europe, Quotidiano Sanità said.
ECPC’s Francesco de Lorenzo predicted that this will make a difference for patients. “This will overcome disparities, reduce barriers to accessing innovative treatments, recognise the true value of new therapies and improve the sustainability of health systems,” he was quoted as saying.
However, the amendment still has to be approved by the European Parliament if it is to lead to greater integration. The parliament is due to vote on it in a plenary session on 25 September, Quotidiano Sanità said.
“ECPC, as a promoter of the transition to a more cooperative HTA process in the EU and the voice of more than 400 cancer organisations, will continue to work with its members at national level and in Brussels to have the regulation approved by the institutions and then applied in the member states,” de Lorenzo said.
Former AIFA chief finds new job in R&D
The former director general of AIFA, Mario Melazzini, has already found a new job in R&D, according to Wednesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
He has become scientific director of research network ICS Maugeri, the paper said. Melazzini left AIFA at the beginning of September after the health minister decided to find a new chief.
He already worked for ICS Maugeri as an oncologist earlier in his career. “I am coming back to this group so I can make a contribution to the building of its scientific reputation,” he said.
ICS Maugeri has 18 research institutes throughout Italy. Melazzini's predecessor in the post, Silvia Priori, is taking up a new role in the group to develop and coordinate work on innovative therapies, the paper said.
MolMed hires Jazz Italy executive to be new CFO
MolMed has hired Jazz Italy’s Salvatore Calabrese as its new chief financial officer, specialist publication About Pharma reported on Monday.
He will replace Antonio Quaglino, who announced he was leaving the Milan-based biotech over the summer. Calabrese, who will take over at the end of September, started his career at accountancy firm PwC before entering the biotech sector, where he worked for several stock market-listed companies.
He also worked for Novuspharma, a company which was acquired by Cell Therapeutics, before joining Como-based Gentium, where he worked on the flotation on the Nasdaq.
Gentium was acquired by Jazz in 2014, and Calabrese became general manager and site leader of the Italian operation. He was on the boards of Gentium, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Italy and Jazz Healthcare Italy.