Press review

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Boehringer stronger company after restructuring

BERLIN, 18 Apr (APM) - Boehringer Ingelheim is a stronger company after two years of restructuring, writes Handelsblatt (p69) and FAZ (p23) on Thursday.
Boehringer reported a record profit of almost €2.1 billion after taxes, after a loss of €223 million euros in 2017, while the 3% sales decline in 2018 was mainly due to special effects in connection with discontinued operations and negative currency effects (APMHE 62706).
Chairman Hubertus von Baumbach spoke of a "strong year" and, thanks to a solid research pipeline, said he sees the group on an upward trend for the coming years as well, according to the paper.
Handelsblatt highlighted that the group's net financial position grew by €1.5 billion to around €9 billion - a strong financial situation among German companies.

Earlier start for generic and biosimilar manufacturing in Europe

The manufacturing of generics and biosimilars in the EU may begin from mid-2022 before patent protection of originator drugs expires, according to the latest legislation passed in the European parliament, Handelsblatt (p25) and FAZ (p21) report on Thursday (APMHE 62716).
The loosening of the EU patent law will allow an earlier start of manufacturing both for export to third countries and to build stock ahead of entry into the European market.
It will facilitate planning and production ahead of market launches and improve the competitiveness of EU manufacturing sites, Miguel Pagan, global production director at Stada, told Handelsblatt.
Manufacturers of originator drugs, such as Boehringer Ingelheim (APMHE 62710), are warning against the risk of an erosion of patent law, Handelsblatt added

Merck KGaA expands its specialty chemicals business

Merck will expand its specialty chemicals business in its performance materials division thanks to the successful $6.5 billion takeover of U.S. company Versum Materials, wrote FAZ on Saturday (p20) and Handelsblatt on Monday (p19) (APMHE 62667).
The expanded business will grow about a third to around €3.6 billion.
Merck is paying a respectable price for acquiring Versum as the price corresponds to 13.7 times the operating profit before depreciation (EBITDA) expected for Versum in 2019, both papers wrote.

German health state secretary Stroppe leaves

German health minister Jens Spahn has terminated the service of health state secretary Lutz Stroppe, who was in place since 2014, FAZ reports on Thursday (p24).
Stroppe, who is a civil servant, will leave his position on 15 May by mutual agreement, Spahn told ministry staff. The reasons for the early dismissal, which the minister is entitled to for political reasons, have not been disclosed.
The news of Stroppe's departure comes as no surprise, as Spahn manages the ministry more directly than its predecessor Herman Gröhe, writes FAZ.

Germany planning obligatory measles vaccination

The two political parties from the German ruling coalition have backed the introduction of obligatory measles vaccination for children, paving the way for a draft law to be presented by health minister Jens Spahn in May, FAZ reported on Sunday (p1), FAZ on Saturday (p1) and SZ on Monday (p1 & 5).
"Individual freedom has its limits where it threatens the health of many others," said Andrea Nahles, chair of the junior partner in the ruling coalition, social democrats SPD, in an interview published in SZ.
However, an obligation on measles vaccination only might be complex to implement.
According to the German regulator responsible for vaccines, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), there are no single vaccines against measles available on the German market but only combined vaccines against three diseases (measles, mumps and rubella - MMR) or four (MMR plus chickenpox), SZ said.

Criticism on lack of action in valsartan case

German experts criticised the European testing authority EDQM and Gerlan authorities for failing to carry out duties on drug manufacturing in the valsartan case, reported FAZ on Wednesday (p34)
The EDQM did not take any specific action after one Chinese manufacturer informed the European authorities in 2011 about the changes in its valsartan synthesis, health economist Gerd Glaeske told FAZ.
In addition, regional health authorities in Germany, which are in charge of drug safety control, are completely overwhelmed, said cardiologist Thomas Meinertz.
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