Press review

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Curing cancer still an ideal, making it a chronic condition is the more realistic goal, says Lynparza researcher

MADRID, 9 Aug (APM) - Curing cancer is still an ideal - the next best thing, and a more realistic goal, is turning it into a chronic condition, said Teresa Macarulla, Spanish researcher and co-author of the POLO trial, which assessed the safety and efficacy of AstraZeneca/ Merck & Co’s Lynparza (olaparib) in pancreatic cancer.
She was speaking in a Monday interview with Spanish daily El País following presentation of results from the Phase III POLO trial at latest meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in June, showing oral PARP inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib) as a maintenance treatment improved the progression-free survival (PFS) of patients with BRCA-mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer. (APMHE 63201)
Macarulla also told El País that bigger investment in diagnostics is needed in order to make the best of potential personalised cancer treatments, and argued that pay-per performance schemes are a good option to pay for newer, more expensive therapies in a sustainable public healthcare system.
According to Macarulla, there are substantial, unfair differences in access to cancer drugs across Spain’s autonomous regions. (APMHE 60791)

Pharma physician cooperation improves Spanish healthcare, despite 'unfair' media criticism

On Tuesday, Spanish daily El Español carried an editorial pointing out the advantages of cooperation between pharmaceutical companies and physicians, including improved healthcare.
Juan Abarca Cidón, president of the Institute for Healthcare Development and Integration (IDIS) argued that branded pharma lobby Farmaindustria has made collaborations with physicians more transparent with the implementation of its code of conduct.
The code proves that pharma is following strict ethical criteria in its relationship with healthcare professionals. Abarca added that this kind of initiative is essential for the progress of healthcare.
However, this "laudable" step towards better transparency has turned against pharma and physicians with some media reporting that "paediatricians criticise the ministry of health for failing to include vaccines in the official schedule whereas they receive money from manufacturers of the vaccines in question," Abarca noted.
Reports like this unfairly question physicians’ honourability, he said. Payments from pharma to doctors are part of private initiatives to improve healthcare and compensate for their work, either in R&D projects, the time they devote to clinical trials or medical education, he added, stressing they are essential to keep the highest standards in the country’s healthcare system.
Getting paid for one’s work and "being sold to big pharma" are far from being the same thing, he said, stressing stories which depict the relationship that way are not true. They also fail to properly report the effort and funds that pharmaceutical companies devote to finding new, better medicines and their contribution to the wellbeing of society as a whole, Abarca noted.
According to Abarca, medical societies should approach these reports by punishing physicians if they do not comply with ethical standards, and by speaking up for those who do. The current silence which follows media reports of unethical conduct is not right, he added.

Almirall profits recovering after 2017 slump

On Monday, financial publication Expansión carried an interview with Almirall’s financial head and vice president, David Nieto, who forecasts the firm’s recovery after profits slumped in 2017. (APMHE 55464)
In 2019, half year sales of €430 million - up 16% year-on-year - led the company to up its 2019 EBITDA guidance from the €290 - €300 million range, to €300 - €310 million, (APMHE 62954, APMHE 63862).
Expansión quoted Nieto as saying: "We are particularly satisfied with sales of recent EU launches, including psoriasis drugs Skilarence (fumaric acid ester) and Ilumetri (tildrakizumab) and acne treatment Seysara (saracycline) in the U.S. By the end of 2020 these three drugs are expected to be the most important in the company."
No further launches are expected before 2021, Expansión added.

Spanish government pumps €15 million into public research institutions

The Spanish government has provided public research institutes with €15 million to be invested in clinical trials without financial return, daily ABC, medical journals Redacción Médica, Diario Médico, EFE and Europa Press agencies reported on Saturday.
According to ABC, in Spain pharma provides funds for eight out of ten clinical trials. Research to find new medicines is a complex, expensive race, which starts with finding a new compound and finishes ten to twelve years later.
R&D is not easy, but it can be highly profitable if clinical advancements are achieved. It is thanks to these efforts that new treatments for cancer or cardiovascular diseases are found, but others, less profitable diseases are often left aside, ABC reported.
That is why the council of ministers, which met on Friday, agreed to provide the funds for public research, the newspaper added.

Batches of Smilax’ omeprazole recalled

A total of 22 batches of the gastrointestinal disorder treatment omeprazole manufactured in India by Smilax have been recalled by Spanish regulator AEMPS, it was widely reported on Thursday.
Dailies ABC, El Mundo, El País, El Español, financial El Economista, medical journal Diario Médico and a number of regional newspapers carried the story.
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