Press review

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Drug pricing procedures explained by Spanish newspaper

MADRID, 13 Sept (APM) - Daily Spanish newspaper ABC published a lengthy Tuesday story explaining how decisions on drug prices are made in Spain.
ABC explained that decisions over prices of reimbursed drugs are made by the inter-ministry commission of the Spanish health ministry, CIPM, with representatives of the finance and industry ministries and regional authorities.
Once a drug is approved by the European authorities, the manufacturer files an application with the health ministry. The general directorate of medicines and health technologies quality then works on a report assessing the drug in question. CIMP will use that report to determine the price, ABC explained.
As generic medicines enter the Spanish market, prices can go down, because the law states that all drugs with the same indication must cost the same as their cheaper version.
The newspaper argued that prices of drugs are kept confidential "in order to maximise patients’ access to innovative medicines". This way each country is able to negotiate the most suitable price depending on their specific circumstances, such as reimbursement conditions, co-payments and budgetary muscle, ABC added.
The story denied that innovative drugs were too pricey because "the process of developing a new medicine is complex and carries high risk, with only one out of 10,000 compounds in research eventually being a drug available for patients".
Only three of ten medicines currently sold generate enough return to make up for the companies’ R&D investment, it claimed.
At the end of the story, ABC added that it is always worth for a public healthcare system to reimburse innovative medicines because they are associated with substantial benefits for patients and for society as a whole. It also said that the prices of medicines do not pose a threat to the system’s sustainability.

CAR-Ts could be useful in cardiovascular diseases

A new study shows that CAR-Ts-based immunotherapy, used in several kinds of cancer, could be a viable therapy in other indications, namely cardiovascular disease, dailies La Razón and ABC reported on Wednesday.
The study has been published in Nature magazine, La Razón reported.
In it, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Medicine) found that genetically modified T cells from patients, similar to those used to treat cancer, can target fibroblasts which contribute to fibrosis.
Fibrosis is a scarring process found in the majority of heart diseases. It is associated with heart stiffness and decreased heart function, the newspaper added.

Purdue attempts settlement in opioid crisis

Purdue, considered one of the main culprits of the U.S. opioid crisis, has attempted a $12 billion settlement with authorities from 23 states of the union, dailies El País and El Periódico reported on Thursday. (APMHE 64331)
Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York are not in the deal, since they demanded a $4.5 billion guarantee, El País reported.
According to El País, the deal is similar to the one proposed by Johnson & Johnson to settle 2,000 lawsuits after a court ruling ordered the firm to pay $572 million in a trial over deceptively marketing painkillers. (APMHE 64163)
The sanction was way lower than anticipated and could create an important precedent, the newspaper noted.

Amgen’s experimental drug effective in lung cancer

On Sunday, financial Cinco Días carried a story about the efficacy of Amgen’s experimental drug AMG510, tried in 13 patients.
According to data presented at the World Lung Cancer Conference in Barcelona, AMG510 was associated with at least a 30% tumour shrinkage in seven the cases. The cancer was stabilised in the rest of patients included in the study.
Nine patients are still on this oral treatment, which is used daily, whereas two of those with a partial response have died. One person left the clinical trial due to disease progression, and another one with stable disease died, too.
The financial quoted Greg Friber, head of oncology development at Amgen, as saying that patients who responded to AMG510 have been treated for an average period of 15 weeks.

UK’s government admits non-deal Brexit would be chaos

The British government has disclosed internal documents assessing the impact of a no-deal Brexit which admit drug shortages, among other potential problems, daily El Mundo reported on Thursday. Financial El Economista and daily Público carry the story on Friday. (APMHE 64335)
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