Press review

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PTC Therapeutics’ Translarna 'ineffective' - Spanish health minister

MADRID, 22 Feb (APM) - Spanish health minister María Luisa Carcedo has said PTC Therapeutics’ Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment Translarna (ataluren) did not obtain reimbursement status due to its lack of efficacy, it was widely reported on Wednesday.
Speaking at the health commission of the Spanish senate on Wednesday, Carcedo said ataluren does not cure the disease, it fails to stop its progression and has very little efficacy in many patients, Europa Press agency reported.
These comments were Carcedo’s answer to a question from senator Francisco Javier Yanguas, who asked if the government had any plans to make the drug available in Navarra and other autonomous regions, the agency said.
During the commission, the parents of a six-year old child suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy were present and expecting Carcedo to announce the drug is approved for reimbursement in Spain, Yanguas said.
On Tuesday, health authorities from Navarra region had offered the child’s family the chance to have him included in one of the eight ongoing clinical trials trying different medicines for the condition, medical journal Acta Sanitaria reported.
Regional newspapers quoted one of the child’s relatives as saying: “This is appalling; they want to study the 33 cases [of Duchenne muscular dystrophy] there are in Spain while my nephew pays the price of their incompetence”.
According to this person, experts in Pamplona and Barcelona have told the parents the child needs to be treated with Translarna.
The story was covered by a number of regional newspapers. Medical journals Redacción Médica and Consalud carried it on Wednesday.

Governments 'too shy' to implement PrEP therapy - researcher

French researcher Jean-Michel Molina discusses the latest findings on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and says governments are “too shy” to implement it, in El País on Friday.
Speaking to the newspaper on the sidelines of the HIBIC meeting in Madrid, organised by Gilead, Molina said PrEP must be included in any plan to prevent HIV, together with early diagnosis, prompt treatment and recommendations about prophylactics.
Access to PrEP is a matter of human rights. Everybody has the right to have a free sexual life without the anguish of thinking they might get HIV. “Let’s be honest, even though the situation has improved a lot, the diagnosis is never good news,” he said.

Praise for Immunomedics’ sacituzumab govitecan

On Thursday, dailies El Mundo and ABC carried a story about Immunomedics’ sacituzumab govitecan, which was called an “explosive” treatment for one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer.
The newspaper reported that this “smart drug” identifies and targets exclusively cancerous cells. “Even though it has been treated in few patients, its results allow sky-high expectations,” El Mundo said.
The newspaper quoted researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Columbia University as saying that the drug is very promising for patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC), for whom average survival is approximately 12 months.
ABC presented the medicine as the first of a new generation of “smart drugs”. The newspaper noted that over 30,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Spain annually, and that breast cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer among Spanish women.
In spite of recent advances in the treatment of breast cancer, a significant percentage of tumours are hard to treat and aggressive, like triple-negative ones. These account for 15-20% of all breast cancers, ABC reported.

New trade secrecy law to be enforced in March

The new law on trade secrecy has been published in the Spanish state bulletin and will be enforced in March, providing additional legal protection to biotech and pharma, financial Cinco Días reports on Friday.
With a growing number of patent filings, biotech firms will be among those to benefit from the new law, the financial notes. Pharma is one of the most active industries in terms of patents, including molecules, proteins and their sequences, plants, human cells, drugs, medical devices and diagnostic tests, Cinco Días adds.
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