Press review

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Italy may introduce financial rewards for regions that keep pharma spending under control

MILAN, 11 Oct (APM) - Italy may introduce financial rewards for regions that keep pharma spending under control, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
A settlement, which saw drug companies agree to pay all outstanding payback owed to cover overspending of budgets between 2013-2017, is close to being completed. A decree law has specified how €1.6 billion will be divided up between the regions.
Attention will now turn to improving the payback system. As part of the process, regional governments are said to have agreed to introduce incentives for those regions who manage to control spending of drugs reimbursement budgets more effectively.
Any region recognised as having achieved this will have a premium in the form of extra resources. However, deciding which regions are rewarded may not only be a question of how much they spend, but the direction of spending could also be considered.
This would mean a region which is spending more than other regions on drugs but is shown to be rapidly cutting expenditure would qualify for a premium. Conversely, a region which has been spending less than other regions but whose spending is rising fast would not be rewarded.

Shortages of branded rheumatology drugs in Sardinia - patient group

Patients in Sardinia are having increasing difficulty finding branded drugs for rheumatology indications, news agency ANSA reported on Wednesday.
A patient group, Associazione Nazionale Malati Reumatici (Amar) has called on the regional authorities to resolve the problems. "These are branded drugs for which there is not a similar alternative drug," its president, Silvia Tonolo, told ANSA.
She blamed the shortages on the failure of the authorities to buy sufficient quantities of drugs to meet the demand. The only option for patients is to go to another region, such as Lombardy, to be prescribed a therapy, she said.
"For Sardinia this is not a saving because then the Lombardy health service asks for reimbursement from the Sardinian region," Tonolo warned.

Novartis wins three Prix Galien Italia awards for drug innovation

Novartis has won three Prix Galien Italia awards in recognition of the innovativeness of its drugs, Libero reported on Thursday.
The paper described the event, which was held this week in Milan as the pharmacology equivalent of the Nobel prizes. It is the first time that a company has been given three awards at the same edition of Prix Galien Italia.
Novartis' ophthalmology gene therapy Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec), CAR-T therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and breast cancer drug Kisqali (ribociclib) were the products given prizes.
"This is an extraordinary result for Novartis, but it is above all great news for Italian patients who, suffering from very serious illnesses, see the value and effectiveness of the innovative treatments that our research makes available being recognised," Novartis' country manager Pasquale Frega was quoted as saying.

CAR-T revolutionising treatment for blood cancer patients

Patients with blood cancers are seeing treatments "revolutionised" by new therapies that are becoming available, according to the head of a haematology society writing in Tuesday’s Il Sole 24 Ore.
Paolo Corradini, president of Società Italiana di Ematologia (SIE), was reporting on the society's annual congress held in Rome this week.
More than 33,000 new cases of blood cancer are diagnosed annually in Italy. It has become the fifth most common type of cancer. However, treatment progress has meant that mortality rates are falling despite an increase in cases of lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia, he said.
"All this is because of new drugs, but above all it is as a result of gene therapies and CAR-T cells," Corradini said.
The SIE president noted that medium-long term data show that 50% of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and 35% with lymphoma achieve lasting control of the disease which corresponds to a "cure".
He said that five centres in Lombardy, one in Lazio and one in Emilia Romagna, have already been approved as having the requirements to provide CAR-T therapies. Other centres in Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany are currently being assessed.

Italian to be next Horizon Europe Mission Board for Cancer chair

Walter Ricciardi has been chosen by the European Commission to be the next chair of the Horizon Europe Mission Board for Cancer, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
He will take over from noble laureate in medicine Harald zur Hausen who has stepped down for personal reasons. The board has €20 billion of funding, made available by the European parliament and member states, for research and social and clinical initiatives against tumours, the paper said.
Ricciardi is professor of health and hygiene at Rome's Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and former president of Italy's national health institute.
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