Press review

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Italy heading for health funding problems as wrangling over new pact with regions continues - analyst

MILAN, 26 Apr (APM) - The failure of the government and regional administrations to draw up a new three-year health pact is likely to add to the government’s funding problems, according to an analyst writing in Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
Nina Cartabellotta, founder of the think tank Fondazione GIMBE, identified the main reason for the difficulties as the economy.
The government’s financial planning document cut growth forecasts from 3.1% to 1.2% in 2019, from 3.5% to 2.6% in 2020 and from 3.1% to 2.5% in 2021. "This context of a ‘gloomy decline’ has triggered a dangerous chain reaction in the health sector," Cartabellotta said.
Increases in health funding of €2 billion in 2020 and €1.5 billion a year later are dependent on a new health pact being agreed, including concrete plans and measures to improve the quality of care and services and increase cost efficiency, he said.
The government’s approach to the health pact has changed: separate discussions about the most important issues, including reforms to reimbursement spending on drugs and methods to deal with regions which have health deficits, will be started. This suggested a more general pact is not a priority.
The previous health pact was unsuccessful because the government did not provide the necessary resources for the regions to implement the measures and services, Carabellotta added. The message from the regions was "no money, no pact". That message has been turned round and is becoming one of "no pact, no money", he added.
A growing rift between the two parties in the governing coalition, Five Star Movement and League, could complicate matters. They are engaged in a fierce political battle ahead of European elections in May where they will be rivals.
Three regions, Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, two of which are strongholds of the League, are pressing for more autonomy, especially in healthcare. This will make getting all the regions to agree what they want in a health pact even more difficult, the analyst said.

Pharma production fell 3% in February

Italy’s pharma production fell 3% in February in contrast to Italy’s overall industrial output which was 0.3% higher, About Pharma reported on Tuesday.
Citing figures from the national statistics office Istat, the specialist publication said orders for the drugs industry slid 8.4% compared to the same month last year while those for industry as a whole showed a 0.4% rise.

Dermatology network launched to improve research, treatments

A new dermatology association has been launched with the aim of improving scientific research and treatments of diseases, according to Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
SKIN - Rete Dermatologica is being promoted by the health ministry. It will foster and facilitate development of scientific research and new technology in dermatological and sexually transmitted diseases, the paper said.
Aldo Morrone, scientific director of the San Gallicano Institute and coordinator of SKIN, said the aim is to create a network to optimise the use of resources, share of data and scientific results as well as provide better diagnosis, therapies and treatments for dermatological diseases.
"Another objective is training because in dermatology the clinician never stops learning and technology gives us more and more insights," he added.
The research institutes which will be part of the network include Rome’s paediatric Bambino Gesù hospital, Istituto Humanitas and Milan’s Fondazione Cà Grande polyclinic.

AIFA restricts use of MS drug Lemtrada after EMA starts safety review

AIFA has introduced a series of measures for Sanofi’s multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) after the European Medicines Agency started a safety review, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Tuesday.
Treatments of new patients should only be started for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis that is highly active despite treatment with at least two disease-modifying therapies or when other disease-modifying therapies cannot be used.
Patients who continue treatment with Lemtrada should be monitored. If there are any changes in vital functions, stopping treatment should be considered, the online publication said.
Hepatic functions should be assessed during treatment and liver damage should mean reappraisal of whether the therapy can be continued. Patients need to be informed about the drug and should seek medical assistance if they show any symptoms immediately after infusion.

Initiative to improve medicines' provision in prisons

A partnership between hospital pharmacies and prison operators has ben started aimed at improving medicines provision and medical care of patients in prisons, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
A study of 16,000 prisoners showed that 67.5% of them had problems requiring treatment with 55% found to be taking at least one medication. The most common diseases were psychiatric disorders, including drug addiction, infectious diseases and conditions affecting the digestive system, the paper said.
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