Press review

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Pharma to increase R&D spend 20% over five years - report

MADRID, 16 Aug (APM) - Pharmaceutical companies are set to increase their research and development investments by 20% to more than $200 billion by 2024, financial Cinco Días reported on Wednesday.
According to a recent report by consulting firm Evaluate Pharma, to secure launches of new medicines, pharmaceutical companies will devote $210 billion to R&D. The sum accounts for 18% of global sales.
Johnson & Johnson will be at the top of the ranking by R&D expenditure with $9.9 billion a year, representing a 2.6% growth rate. Roche, which has the highest R&D spend, will invest a similar amount, but its estimated growth rate is 0.1%.
Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Novartis, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi, Lilly and AstraZeneca follow in the ranking of pharmaceutical companies by R&D spend, Cinco Días added.

'Hidden' opioid abuse epidemic in Africa

On Saturday, daily El País carried a story about a "hidden" opioid abuse epidemic in west Africa which is causing "incalculable damage".
The newspaper reported that refugees in northern Nigeria use tramadol to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS).
Abuse of this drug has also been linked to episodes of convulsion in school children in Gabon, where it has been renamed as kobolo. In Ghana, there is even a number of dance moves known as "the tramadol dance" which mirrors the clumsy movements of those which use tramadol for recreational use, the newspaper said.
Even though in theory tramadol can only be purchased with a doctor's prescription, it is quite easy to buy it in community pharmacies without it and multiple illegal channels are also available El País reported.

Positive trial results of Ebola drug

An experimental drug has shown promising results in a trial involving 700 patients with Ebola haemorrhagic fever (APMHE 64029), daily La Vanguardia reported on Monday.
The drug, which has been developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, has shown better efficacy results than three competitor medicines under development, La Vanguardia noted.
Daily El País reported that the new three Ebola medicines are highly efficient, whereas financial El Economista carried the headline: "Two medicines offer hope to cure Ebola" and daily ABC reported that two U.S. trials offer promising data on two new medicines which could help stop the Ebola epidemic.

Inequity in drug access across Spanish regions

On Tuesday, daily El País carried an editorial signed by four prominent former government officials involved in healthcare policies denouncing inequity in access to healthcare services and innovative drugs across Spanish regions.
The authors also noted that the lack of a national government following the general election in May is causing delay in moves to solve a number of problems in public healthcare, including the harmonisation of pharmaceutical services and patient access to newer drugs.
They argued that the effects of this lack of coherent, harmonised policies has been perceived by citizens, as a number of healthcare-focused surveys have showed.

World Pharmacist Day

'Safe and effective medicines for all' is the theme of this year's World Pharmacists Day on 25 September, Europa Press agency and medical journal Redacción Médica reported on Thursday.
Europa Press quoted a statement from Spanish pharmacists' association CGCOF as saying that the day will be devoted to underline the importance of these professionals' work for the wellbeing of patients with their cooperation in initiatives to promote the better use of medicines and their efficacy. Pharmacists are also key to help patients with the follow up of medical treatments, the agency added.

Recalled batches of omeprazole contaminated with minoxidil

A total of 22 batches of gastrointestinal disorder drug omeprazole, which were recalled by Spain's regulator AEMPS last week, turned out to be contaminated with minoxidil, an active ingredient used in hair disorder treatments, dailies ABC, La Razón and a number of medical journals reported at the beginning of the week.
The batches had been manufactured in India by Smilax and were recalled last week.
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