MADRID, 12 Oct (APM) - Spain’s pharma ranks fourth for quality of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and finished dosage drugs, according to a survey disclosed just ahead of the CPhI Worldwide event in Madrid, financial Cinco Días reported on Monday.
In the survey, experts and executives from more than 350 pharmaceutical companies were asked to give countries scores from 1 to 10. Spain obtained an average of 7 points in the score, ranking fourth after the U.S., Germany and Japan, all of which had an average of 8. France and Italy also obtained a score of 7, the financial added.
Most importantly, according to the survey Spanish pharmaceutical firms are the ones which showed fastest growth in terms of innovation. Respondents said the Spanish industry‘s innovation capacity increased by 16% over the past year, both in terms of manufacturing processes and new medicines, Cinco Días noted.
The newspaper then reported on the CPhI event in Madrid, which brought together more than 2,500 pharmaceutical companies.
Daily ABC and Europa Press agency carried the story on Tuesday and Wednesday, focusing on the fact that Madrid hotels were fully booked due to the event.
Developing drugs for the rich does not make sense - MD Anderson president
On Monday, daily El País carried an interview with Peter Pisters, MD Anderson Cancer Center president, who said that developing drugs for the rich, who represent 1% of the world’s population, is pointless.
Pisters said he was naturally happy that James Allison, head of the department of immunology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, had won the Nobel prize for work on the immune system and cancer treatment (APMHE 59948
). However, he does not think immunotherapy will be the 'silver bullet' to end all cancers.
According to Pisters, research will be needed to understand why immunotherapy does not work in 80% of cancer patients.
He also told El País that the high prices of new cancer treatments are certainly a challenge. “They will be no good if they are used to treat 1% of the population, the richest. We need to make them available to all patients,” he said.
As a solution, he suggested that the U.S. authorities get involved in pricing talks. “The [U.S.] government would not buy a pencil without bargaining first but, in spite of pharma being the public healthcare system’s number 1 customer, this is the only scenario where they do not negotiate. I do not know if this is related to the power of pharma lobbies,” he told El País.
The result is that pharmaceutical companies sell at the prices they want to. They also tend to set higher prices in the U.S. market because it is usually the first one where the drugs are sold, and where they get their return on investment, Pisters said.
This has a “perverse” effect on other countries, Spain included. Even though pricing talks precede market access, the prices are already sky-high, El País said.
Spanish celebrity’s comments on cancer treatment in Spain denounced
On Monday, daily El Mundo carried an editorial about Ana Obregón, a Spanish actress/model whose son is currently receiving treatment for a rare type of cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in New Jersey, U.S. The author argued that patients do not need to leave Spain to receive the best cancer treatment, contrary to what Obregón told a Spanish magazine.
It is a “dangerous” message to say that money is necessary to successfully treat cancer. It is also irresponsible and disrespectful to Spanish healthcare professionals, the author added.
It is quite likely that the MD Anderson Cancer Center is better in terms of privacy, but saying that treatments available overseas are not accessible to Spanish patients in public settings is untrue, she added.
Sanofi launches Kevzara for RA in Spain
Sanofi has announced that its rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara (sarilumab) is now available in Spain for adult patients with moderate to severe disease, medical journal Gaceta Médica reports on Friday.
Sarulimab is indicated in combination with methotrexate in patients who have had an unsatisfactory response to disease-modifying drugs, or who are intolerant to one or more of these drugs. It can be used as a monotherapy in patients intolerant to methotrexate or when treatment with this drug is unsuitable, the journal adds.