Press review

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German higher court forbids small gifts in pharmacies

Country : Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 7 June (APM) - Germany's Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has prohibited German pharmacies from offering customers cheap promotional items when buying prescription medicines, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) (p17 and 22), Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) (p23) and Die Welt (p1) report on Friday.
Advertising gifts, even with a low value, are a noticeable offence against fixed price regulations and fair competition, the court said. Prescription drugs must cost the same everywhere in Germany, it added.
In previous rulings, the court allowed gifts under €1 value.

Oncology drugs growing strongly

New cancer therapies sales could total $230 billion by 2024, which will be a fifth of all drug sales, according to analyst firm Evaluate Pharma, Handelsblatt reported on Monday in a review on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago (p22-23).
According to Handelsblatt's calculations, the top 20 oncology drug manufacturers had sales of $120 billion in 2018 already, which is an increase of roughly 14% after currency effects.
Merck & Co's sales have grown 70%, mainly thanks to immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab). UK pharma AstraZeneca, U.S.-based Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have grown considerably, too, Handelsblatt reported.
German groups Bayer and Merck KGaA's sales have stagnated in recent years. Their pipelines, however, give hope for more successful developments to come: Bayer received approval for Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) (APMHE 60771) and Aliqopa (copanlisib) (APMHE 54717) in 2018.
Merck's Bavencio (avelumab) has proved successful (APMHE 62971) and has agreed a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline on immunotherapy bintrafusp alfa potentially worth $3.7 billion (APMHE 61742).

Higher drug prices in the U.S. due to older drugs

The increase in U.S. drug prices is primarily due to older drugs and not so much to new therapies, FAZ reported on Thursday (p16).
As drug prices in the U.S. are not regulated, in contrast to most other countries' markets, prices are double the prices in other industrial countries, according to calculations by the U.S. Health Ministry.
Moreover, as insurers do not pay list prices but negotiate discount agreements, only non- or under-insured U.S. citizens have to pay the full list prices. This may be a factor why one in two Americans is frightened that a disease could ruin him or her financially, according to a survey by Pew Research, FAZ wrote.

McKinsey could have contributed to aggressive opioid marketing strategies

U.S.-based consultancy McKinsey could have contributed to aggressive opioid marketing strategies for Purdue, manufacturer of top-selling Oxycontin (oxycodone), FAZ reported on Monday (p18).
In the complaint of a lawsuit of Massachusset's attorney general against Purdue on the company's responsibility in the U.S. opioid addiction crisis, McKinsey is named several times, FAZ reported.
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