Press review

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Spanish government points at pharma in supply shortages

MADRID, 2 Nov (APM) - Spanish minister of health, María Luisa Carcedo, has said that it is pharma’s responsibility to guarantee supplies of publicly funded drugs after shortages of certain products in the country, financial paper El Economista reported on Wednesday.
Speaking to journalists before a meeting in Madrid, Carcedo said the ministry is in constant communication with pharmaceutical firms via Spanish regulator AEMPS.
Shortage in supplies of Bayer’s cardioaspirin Adiro and other medicines has been widely reported by Spanish media over the past months, with follow-up stories this week in dailies La Razón, Público, Qué, a number of medical newspapers and medical journals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
In the Andalusia region, there are up to 300 types of drug affected by shortages, daily La Razón reported on Thursday.
The newspaper quoted Teodomiro Hidalgo from pharmacists’ association CGCOF as saying that the group has known of patients’ concerns about shortages affecting Adiro for months. He also told La Razón a number of other drugs are missing from community pharmacies.
Shortages of Adiro started in April. Then CGCOF was told supplies would get back to normal in the summer months. However, as AEMPS has admitted, this would not happen before November, Hidalgo said.
According to medical journal Redacción Médica, AEMPS has contacted manufacturers of alternative drugs to make sure patients will receive their treatments as prescribed, only with a different label. A total of 17 medicines that substitutable Adiro are currently available in Spain.

Roche’s Xofluza expensive, with limited efficacy

On Thursday, daily El Español carried a story about the approval of Roche’s influenza drug Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug was portrayed as an expensive drug with limited efficacy. (APMHE 60294)
The medicine has been developed by Japan’s Shionogi, and will be sold in the U.S. by Roche’s Genentech division at $150.
Roche is also the owner of the only similar drug available until now, Tamiflu, which was disregarded as first-line treatment and labelled as adjuvant therapy by the World Health Organization years ago, El Español reported.
The newspaper added that, according to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Xofluza can help speed up the recovery from influenza symptoms. The study cautioned that this improvement was observed in healthy individuals from 24 to 64 years old.

Differences in drug pricing procedures between Spain and the U.S.

In a Wednesday story, medical journal Redacción Médica explained why the proposal to reveal prices of drugs in TV ads in the U.S. could not work in Spain, where regulation of pricing procedures and advertising of drugs create a totally different scenario (APMHE 60182).
In the U.S. pharmaceutical companies can set the prices of their products without any restriction and are allowed to advertise prescription drugs. In Spain, on the contrary, advertising of prescription drugs is forbidden by law and pricing procedures are also substantially different, the journal noted.
In Spain, the first step is the filing of a new drug with the ministry of health, which decides on prices of drugs. The ministry’s division on quality of drugs and health products then makes a report about the drug regarding reimbursement. The final decision on reimbursement and price is made by the pricing commission of the ministry.
Therefore, it would not make sense to implement moves to persuade manufacturers to lower drug prices, such as making them reveal them in TV ads, because the decision about prices is made by healthcare authorities, Redacción Médica added.

Esteve announces adjustment plan to axe 103 jobs

Barcelona-based Esteve has announced an adjustment plan affecting 7% of its staff, a total of 103 jobs, it was widely reported on Wednesday (APMHE 60363).
Daily El País quoted a company statement as saying that limited growth of the pharmaceutical market in Spain and the constant need to invest have impacted revenue and forced the decision.
Dailies La Vanguardia, El Periódico, Europa Press agency, financial El Economista, Expansión and Cinco Días also carried the story.

Pfizer’s revenue grows 28%

Pfizer’s revenue from January to September was €11.5 billion, a 26% increase from the same period last year, financials Expansión, El Economista and Europa Press agency reported on Wednesday. (APMHE 60364)
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