MILAN, 12 Apr (APM) - Italy is planning to launch a pilot scheme for per-unit dispensing of medicines by pharmacies to reduce waste, Il Messaggero reported on Wednesday.
Head of medicines agency AIFA, Luca Li Bassi, said it will be aimed al providing patients with exactly the number of pills they need and cut the huge number of drugs thrown away which threaten environmental pollution.
He suggested it would mean a more appropriate use of medicines because "having drugs left over encourages self-medication". Around 10% of antibiotics are taken without a medical prescription and it happens because people find unused quantities in their medicine cabinets, he added.
According to Li Bassi, single-dose drug distribution has already been tested in Switzerland and France and other countries. Hospital pharmacies in Liguria and Lombardy are also said to have run pilot schemes.
The AIFA chief said that a working group has been set up to study experiences in other European states and countries outside the EU to identify benefits, possible problems and how to solve them.
"Once this phase is over, we will open up to discussions with stakeholders, namely pharmacists, distributors, producers, patients and doctors." Li Bassi said he is optimistic that pharma will welcome the initiative because "it is not in anyone's interest that products are wasted".
Health minister, Giulia Grillo, said it "could revolutionise retail pharmacy sales". She noted that it was one of the measures including in guidelines for improve pharma governance announced at the end of last year.
U.S. pharma urges improved access to new drugs in Italy
U.S. pharma companies operating in Italy have urged impoved access to innovative therapies and warned against using therapeutic equivalence to put different drugs in the same reimbursement group, La Repubblica reported on Tuesday.
The Italian American Pharmaceutical Group (IAPG) held a meeting in Rome on 3 April, the paper said. It was co-organised by the American Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss investing in Italy and creating value for patents.
One of the main themes was protection of intellectual property. "It is fundamental for the industry to have a regulatory and working environment firmly based on transparency and on the reliability of rules," the U.S. ambassador, Lewis Eisenberg, told the meeting.
Fabrizio Greco, chief executive of AbbVie in Italy and recently appointed to be IAPG’s new president, highlighted the contribution of U.S. companies to the economy. Over the last five years, their sales have totalled €8.1 billion, a third of which came from exports, and they made investment of €2 billion in R&D.
The head of the Italian industry association Farmindustri, Massimo Scaccabarozzi, reiterated how Italy has become the country with the highest pharma production in Europe with €32 billion of annual sales. Now, it is looking to become major player in clinical development of new drugs.
But Greco warned that growth will depend on a constructive dialogue with the government and agencies so that access to innovative therapies can be rapid and effective and stressed that patents must be protected. He described using therapeutic equivalence to group drugs together as "an exclusively economic approach" which has no scientific base.
Pharma reforms included in economic planning document
Pharma reforms have been included in the government’s programme of action in 2019, according to Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
The economy and finance document (DEF) is produced annually to outline the government’s plans for the coming months.
On pharma, a working group has been set up to produce a valid and accurate way of calculating overspending of the hospital drugs budget in 2018. This is designed to avoid pharma starting litigation as they did in previous years.
The DEF specifies that a new system for calculating how much payback is owed by companies will based on electronic invoices for sales to the national health service.
Pharma production rose 5.3% in February
Pharma production rose 5.3% in February compared to the previous month, as industry continued to recover from a slump in December, La Repubblica reported on Wednesday.
According to national statistics office Istat, industrial production as a whole rose 0.8% in February. Pharma production fell 3.7% in December as the economy entered recession (APMHE 61821
Row over which city should be candidate for EU patent court
A row has erupted over which city should be put forward as a candidate to house the EU patent court, according to Wednesday’s Il Giornale.
A motion approved by the chamber of deputies mentions only Italy as the potential host. That has angered people who think Milan, which lost out to Amsterdam in the bidding for the European Medicines Agency, should be the only candidate.
The paper suggested that Italy’s second largest city may have to be content with being a candidate for the 2026 Olympics.