Press review

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Prominent Spanish nephrologists named in alleged Fresenius bribery scandal

Country : Africa, China, Mexico, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, U.S., Germany

Keywords :
MADRID, 7 June (APM) - The names of a group of prominent Spanish nephrologists, including the current and former presidents of the Spanish Nephrology Society, have come up in a bribery scandal involving German-based dialysis firm Fresenius, daily El País reported on Tuesday.
Fresenius agreed to pay $231 million to settle a trial over bribes to healthcare professionals and healthcare authorities in several countries, including Spain, to win or retain business, El País reported.
The newspaper quoted a report disclosed by the U.S. department of justice saying that Fresenius obtained privileged information on public contracts, influenced the conditions of technical requirements to better fit their own and boost the number of patients derived to its healthcare facilities.
According to the report, the company failed to implement sensible internal control mechanisms and this allowed inappropriate payments to doctors from 2007 to 2014. These payments generated $23.8 million in revenue, it added.
María Dolores del Pino, president of the Spanish Nephrology Society (SEN) and former SEN president Ángel Luis Martín de Francisco, together with the heads of the nephrology departments in several Spanish hospitals, are named in the report, El País noted.
Other countries mentioned are Mexico, Serbia, Bosnia, China, Turkey and another 11 nations in Africa and Asia.
The court settlement considered it "proved" that Fresenius paid healthcare professionals involved in public contracts. To justify those payments, fraudulent consultancy contracts were signed. Fresenius also provided funds for physicians' projects, sent presents and paid for trips, El País added.
Daily La Razón and financial El Economista reported the story on 24 May, with a partial list of the physicians allegedly involved in the scheme.

ASCO stories in Spanish media

Spanish media carried a number of stories about the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, with references to several drugs.
Financial El Economista highlighted personalised therapies, AstraZeneca’s Lynparza (olaparib) in pancreatic cancer, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab), Novartis' Kisqali (ribociclib) and Roche's Tecentriq (atezolizumab).
Dailies La Razón, El País, ABC, La Vanguardia, 20 Minutos, El Mundo and medical journal Gaceta Médica carried stories about Lynparza based on the results of the POLO trial, with comments by Spanish oncologist Teresa Macarulla, one of the co-authors.
On Tuesday, medical journal Redacción Médica reported that Roche had presented data of 17 trials on breast cancer at the ASCO meeting.
On Monday, daily ABC carried the headline: "Survival to lung cancer to be measured in years, not months", in an article with data of Merck Sharp & Dohme's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as presented in ASCO and published in the Journal of Clinical Clinical Oncology.

California to sue Purdue over OxyContin advertising

California attorney general Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over allegedly downplaying the risk of addiction associated to its painkiller OxyContin, financial El Economista reported on Monday.
The lawsuit points directly at millionaire and former Purdue president Richard Sackler, arguing the company violated consumer protection laws, among others.
The financial quoted Becerra as saying: "Purdue Pharma and Mr Sackler started a fire and then threw gasoline in the opioid crisis with their irresponsible, insensible and illegal practices."
Speaking at a press conference, Becerra argued that advertising practices helped the company make millions in revenue at the cost of citizens' wellbeing, adding to the national opioid problem, which has turned into an unprecedented healthcare crisis in the country.

Pfizer accused of withholding data linking Enbrel to lower risk of AD

Pfizer has been accused of withholding data from clinical trials which suggest a link between the firm's blockbuster drug Enbrel (etanercept) and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), it was widely reported on Thursday. (APMHE 63250)
El País quoted a Washington Post story as saying that Pfizer declined to carry out a costly clinical trial to look further into preliminary data suggesting Enbrel could reduce the risk of developing AD by 65%.
However, to investigate the link would require a costly clinical trial and the company opted against further investigation and chose not to make the data public, the Washington Post said on Tuesday.
Dailies La Vanguardia, Público, 20 Minutos, Europa Press agency and medical journal Redacción Médica also carried the story.
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