Press review

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Pharma spent €600 million on Spanish medical societies, physicians in 2018

Country : Spain, U.S.

Keywords :
MADRID, 28 June (APM) - Pharmaceutical companies operating in Spain channelled €600 million to medical societies, physicians' travel expenses to attend medical meetings and similar activities in 2018, financial Cinco Días reports on Friday.
The figure was published in the latest transparency report by Spanish branded pharma lobby Farmaindustria. The document shows a 6% increase in this kind of expenditure compared with the previous year, the financial notes.
Pharma has published annual reports with expenses in educational activities and other payments to individual doctors and medical societies, including so-called "transferences of value", which include covering travel expenses and payments for consultancy, Cinco Días adds. (APMHE 58085)
Taking care of doctors and other healthcare professionals' expenses at medical meetings accounted for €118 million, whereas €259 million was spent on contracts with professional organisations as part of R&D initiatives.
The cost of hiring "professional services" was €84 million. Donations, which can exclusively be made to healthcare organisations under Farmaindustria's code of conduct, accounted for €37.5 million, Cinco Días reports.

Same drug, different tumours

On Tuesday, daily El País carries a lengthy story about 'basket trials' of agnostic treatments, explaining how targeting one sole cancer mechanism to treat different cancers is becoming a strong line of research in oncology.
The story features lung cancer, which remains one of the types of malignancy with a poor prognosis (five-year survival of 17%). However, the latest advances in the field of basic science have contributed to differentiate tumours based on genetic features linked to cell proliferation and develop new cancer drugs.
Eight new chemotherapy agents, three ALK targeted therapies, four EGFR drugs and three immunotherapies, have resulted from those advances, El País said.
Genetic biomarkers are a turning point in cancer management and development of new drugs. Sometimes, the location of the tumour is not as relevant as the biomarkers it carries.
Aleix Prat, head of oncology at Clinic Hospital in Barcelona, told El País: "Up until now, we designed clinical trials based on one organ [where the cancer is]. We have realised that many biological processes in pancreatic cancer can also occur in other malignancies."
This paved the way for 'basket trials', which assess so-called 'agnostic' treatments for tumours in different locations which share certain characteristics, the newspaper added.
The story featured Merck & Co's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Roche's Rozlytrek (entrectinib) as some of these emerging cancer drugs.

Female Viagra questioned

On Monday, dailies El Mundo, ABC and 20 Minutos covered the U.S. approval of Palatin Technologies/ AMAG Pharmaceuticals' Vyleesi (bremelanotide) for premenopausal women with female sexual dysfunction (FSD). (APMHE 63440)
ABC highlighted the pressure to find an equivalent to Pfizer's Viagra (sildenafil) for women, and reported about the controversy of administering drugs to boost women's sex drive. 20 Minutes carried the headline: 'Female Viagra approved in spite of lack of knowledge about its effects on the brain.'
ABC noted this is the second FSD drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, noting it is different from Sprout Pharmaceuticals' Addyi (flibanserin), because it does not need to be taken daily and alcohol consumption is not a contraindication to take Vyleesi.
On Saturday, ABC carried a previous story quoting Julie Krop, medical director of AMAG Pharmaceuticals, as saying that the drug cannot only make up for lost sex drive, but that it can help patients' relationships and quality of life. In that story, FSD is defined as a disease "which the medical community has acknowledged as a potentially serious problem".
ABC clarified that it remains unclear how the drug acts in the brain and recommended caution when using it, not administering more than one dose over a 24-hour period or eight times a month.
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