Press review

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Additional batches of irbesartan-containing drugs recalled in Spain

MADRID, 18 Jan (APM) - Spanish regulator AEMPS has recalled batches of hypertension medicines containing irbesartan, it was widely reported on Thursday.
Daily La Razón reported that the recall is part of a number of additional safety measures affecting all sartans. Batches of irbesartan-containing drugs manufactured by Chinese firm Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical were inspected and impurities - N-nitrosamines - were found in some of them.
The affected drugs are sold by Aurovitas Spain and Glenmark Arzneimittel Gmbh. Patients can take their medicines to community pharmacies to get a suitable alternative drug to control hypertension, La Razón noted.
Daily La Vanguardia, a number of regional newspapers, medical journals Redacción Médica, Redacción Médica, Acta Sanitaria and IM Médico Hospitalario covered the story.

BMS-Celgene deal criticised

On Monday, financial Cinco Días carried the translation into Spanish of a Reuters Breakingviews column arguing that big mergers show the bad side of capitalism.
The author says that anyone who thinks prices of drugs must be fair would agree that Celgene needed a corporate change. However, that change would not be the one the firm is about to go through. “From that point of view, the merger is a reward for unjust behaviour”, the financial reported.
For a student of corporate ethics, Celgene’s biggest problem is not its small size but that it is excessively profitable. Its operating profit margin in the latest financial report was a “stunning” 55%. Prices of drugs which generate that kind of profitability are “almost certainly unjustly high”, the author said.
Investors who have already received generous compensation are ready to make even more money, since the takeover values Celgene at 50% above its previous share price, he wrote.
Besides the possibility of the operation ending in success, as big mergers happen competitors are eliminated and big companies gain too much power over prices, regulators and politicians. This could be avoided by the authorities, which could make Bristol-Myers Squibb reduce prices of cancer drugs as operational costs fall due to the merger, the column said.

Basque pharma distribution invests to counter competition

Two of the biggest pharmaceutical distribution firms operating in the Basque Country, DFG and Novaltia, are investing more than €30 million as they face competition from Amazon and Alibaba, financial El Economista reports on Friday.
Novaltia’s director general Fernando Castillo told El Economista that the improved premises in the Basque Country will have state-of-the-art technology imported from Austria.
The new robotised distribution plant is planned to be operational in the second half of this year, El Economista reports.
DFG’s new premises are planned to be finished by 2021, the financial added.

Drug found to prevent metastases

Researchers at the University of Basel have found a medicine which inhibits the formation of metastases, dailies La Vanguardia, Público and El Español reported on Wednesday.
According to an article published in Cell magazine, the drug inhibits the formation of clusters of circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which lead to metastases, La Vanguardia reported.
The researchers tested 2,486 compounds approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with different indications, seeking one which inhibits the formation of clusters, the newspaper noted.
Público quoted researcher Nicola Aceto as explaining that the team tried to identify drugs that do not kill cancer cells but dissociate them.
Neither of the stories specify which drug worked in this scenario. The original article does not mention one drug but some ATPase inhibitors.

Trametinib, rosiglitazone show promise in breast cancer

The combination of two drugs can prevent metastases in breast cancer by turning cancer cells into fat, according to a ‘proof of concept’ study published in Cancer Cell, daily El País reported on Tuesday.
Researchers used an animal model of the most aggressive kind of breast cancer, which does not respond to hormone therapy. The combination of these drugs stops cancer cells from entering a stage called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which allows them to travel to different organs and generate metastases, El País reported.
The newspaper quoted researcher Dana Ronen as explaining that fat cells cannot multiply, so after being transformed by this combination of drugs, tumours stop growing.
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