Press review

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Pharmacy chains write to Italian prime minister over efforts to restrict liberalisation of the sector

MILAN, 7 Dec (APM) - Pharmacy chains have written to the Italian prime minister to express their concern about efforts to restrict the scope of liberalisation of the sector, according to Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The law, which changed ownership rules allowing multiple outlets to be part of the same company, would have led to large chains developing for the first time in Italy. But a proposed change to the law - requiring that at least 51% of shareholders in a company owning pharmacies should be professional pharmacists - has put that into doubt.
Hippocrates Holding, Admenta Italy, Lloyds Framacia and Dr.Max wrote an open letter to the prime minister to warn about the risks of halting the development of the pharmacy market in Italy.
However, health minister Giulia Grillo has expressed support for the restrictions, describing the change to the law as “fundamental”, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
“This protects against the risk of excessive power of international companies that could make a clean sweep of small pharmacies. The rule is needed to prevent the sale of our pharmacies to chains that pay taxes abroad - who knows where - and destroy jobs for pharmacists,” she said.

Piedmont saved €41 million on 7 drugs through competitive tenders

Piedmont saved around €41 million on buying seven drugs through competitive tenders, according to Monday’s La Repubblica.
The region is becoming a model for others looking to generate savings on costly therapies. Its drugs procurement strategy has led to €41 million saving since new tender rules were introduced a year and a half ago, the paper said. The drugs tendered included those for autoimmune diseases as well as cancer and diabetes drugs.
Putting drugs into competition has generated big savings. Direct-acting antivirals cost €14,000 a treatment just a year ago; now the cost is €7,000. Two years ago it was €41,000, the paper said.
According to La Repubblica it obtained a 99% reduction in the prices of Actelion’s pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Tracleer (bosentan) and Novartis’ Gleevec (imatininb).

Menarini to focus on growth after owners cleared of tax fraud

Menarini is looking to focus on growth now that two members of the family that own the company have been cleared of tax fraud and other charges, La Repubblica reported on Wednesday.
Sister and brother Lucia and Alberto Giovanni Aleotti had been given prison sentences in the first trial. But an appeal court acquitted them of all charges on the grounds there was no case to answer.
The company said the two Aleotti family member will now concentrate on continuing expansion of Menarini’s business, which has more than 17,000 employees. “Although (the company) was not directly involved in the trial, it has certainly suffered repercussions and serious damage to its image, even internationally, due to this investigation,” Menarini said.
According to La Repubblica, the case started after an account in Liechtenstein was discovered to have €476 million. Police launched an investigation into Alberto Aleotti, the father of Lucia and Alberto Giovanni, and are said to have discovered several other accounts outside Italy in his name.
However, the defence lawyers always maintained the father, who has since died, never involved his children in his offshore financial dealings, the paper said.

Lombardy presses for Milan as candidate to host unified patent office

Lombardy is pressing for Milan to be put forward as a candidate to host one of the three seats of the Unified Patent Court, Il Giorno reported on Monday.
The region’s governor, Attilio Fontana, has said he intends to approach Italy’s minister for foreign affairs, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, about making a bid. He stressed the need for support so that any candidacy does not end up like the one to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) where Milan came second to Amsterdam.
Fontana believes Milan would be ideal for a number of reasons: in 2017 Lombardy had the highest number of applications for patent registrations in Italy, the region has 56 medical-scientific university faculties, around 1,000 research and technology transfer centres and 9 technological clusters. Around 50% of clinical trials in Italy are conducted in Lombardy and €700 million was invested in the last three years.
Maovero Milanesi responded positively to the proposal saying his ministry will do everything it can to support any such candidacy, the paper said.
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