MILAN, 25 Jan (APM) - The Italian health minister, Giulia Grillo has claimed her ministry prepared the ground for an agreement between regions and pharma which is expected to release €2.4 billion of outstanding payback, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
The deal, which was negotiated between industry association Farmindustria and regional officials, was announced at the beginning of the week (APMHE 61523
). The minister believes her policies helped make it possible.
“Of course, myself and my staff were absolute committed to being in charge of this operation. We wanted to find a solution after six years of confusion and inflexibility about payback. I opened the ministry up to the two sides involved,” she was quoted as saying.
Grillo identified two developments as having set the negotiation process in motion: her decision to set up a panel of experts and health and finance ministry officials to advise on reforms, and the publication of guidelines for new reimbursement spending regulations.
“These are the novel elements that, in my opinion, have created the excellent conditions which allowed the regions to sit down with industry representatives starting from a position of strength and not of weakness as has always happened in the past six years,” she said.
Grillo expressed her willingness to discuss new policies with industry figures. “As I explained at the presentation of the new ‘governance’ [guidelines , dialogue and open discussion are essential elements of my way of working as well as that of the new director of the Italian drugs agency, Luca Li Bassi,” she said.
Pharma chief gives regions, industry credit for payback settlement
The regions and the pharma industry showed great responsibility in negotiating a deal to settle outstanding payback, the head of Farmindustria, Massimo Scaccabarozzi, told Il Sole 24 Ore in an interview published on Monday.
The paper asked him what role the health ministry had. Scaccabarozzi suggested it did not have one.
“The agreement is between us and the regions. I believe that the health [ministry] along with the MEF [finance ministry] will be able to draft a measure that respects the agreement so that, if everything goes well, we can resolve and close everything within a few months,” he said.
Asked about the prospect of new drug reimbursement regulations, the Farmindustria chief stressed the need for industry to be consulted and for any rules to be based on science.
Tuscany’s biosimilar switching criticised by head of rheumatism group
The head of a rheumatism patients' group has criticised Tuscany’s policy of having doctors switch to the cheapest biological drug treatment, which is normally a biosimilar, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Tuesday.
Silvia Tonolo, president of the Associazione Nazionale Malati Reumatici (ANMAR), told the paper the group’s concern is not with switching from originator to biosimilar but about doing it from biosimilar to biosimilar.
She accused the region of having required doctors to prescribe only the drug that wins the tender, without considering what the patient was being treated with previously.
Tonolo argued that the policy will undermine trust within the doctor/patient relationship, and reduce patients' adherence.
Proposals to liberalise pharmacy sector rejected again by parliament
Proposal to liberalise the pharmacy sector and allow sales of non-reimbursable prescription drugs outside the official reimbursement network have been rejected again, according to Wednesday’s La Repubblica.
The paper quoted a union official representing workers in retail group Conad as saying that the amendments to legislation which would have introduced changes had been taken out.
He described it as “ironic” that the news was announced the same day as it was reported that the prices of almost 800 drugs had been increased by their manufacturers. Consumers are expected to have to pay on average a euro more for those products, he added.
La Repubblica said that spending on non-reimbursable medicines in 2018 increased to account for 40.6% of total drugs spending. Supporters of pharmacy liberalisation believe it would lead to lower prices on products not paid for by the national health service.
Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy appoints new country manager for Italy
Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy has appointed a new country manager for Italy, About Pharma reported on Thursday.
Massimo Versace joins the generics group from Aurobindo Pharma, having previous worked for Teva and Sanofi.
He described the Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy team which he will now manage as one of the most dynamic in the drugs industry. Versace identified the company's strategy as consolidating the positions it has acquired as well as developing new innovative areas of the business.
Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy has sales of around €40 million, generated in both the hospital and the retail segments of the market.