Press review

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Some 44 drugs without substitutes remain unavailable to patients in Poland

Country : Canada, China, Poland

Keywords :
WARSAW, 18 Oct (APM) - According to GdziePoLek.pl portal, the availability of 44 drugs is still drastically limited with no substitutes available, which is worse than during the peak of the drug crisis in July when 40 drugs were unavailable, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB5) on Monday.
Apart from the drugs without substitutes, a variety of other therapies do have substitutes on the market, but it is unknown how long their stocks will last.
These include both highly specialised therapies and regular drugs. The situation with Euthyrox N used for treating thyroid diseases is reported to have improved, but the situation has dramatically deteriorated for drugs with a prolonged release of Metformin, such as Glucophage XR and Symformin XR, which are taken by 1.5 million Polish patients with type 2 diabetes.
GdziePoLek.pl reported that the shortages of half these medications arose after the crisis in July and August. The new drugs without substitutes include Betadrin (eye drops for severe eye inflammations), Edronax (for treating depression), Indocollyre (used during eye surgery), Ketonal (an analgesic), Mirvaso (for treating rosacea) and Relpax (a migraine medication).
The drugs with the new shortages that have one substitute available include several medications with a low concentration of Finasteride (used in androgenetic alopecia) and drugs containing Spironolactone and Metoprolol, which are used for treating cardiovascular diseases.

Specialist hospital in Radom has received delivery of flu vaccines

The recent delivery of flu vaccines means the specialist hospital in Radom will continue its flu vaccination programme for the elderly, reported Gazeta Wyborcza in its Stoleczna local pages supplement (p11) on Tuesday.
Over 2,500 patients aged over 65 have benefited from free vaccinations to date and the hospital's officials plan to vaccinate 1,500 more senior citizens. The hospital received a grant of 161,000 zlotys (€37,500) from the Radom municipality for the programme.

Polish Ministry of Health announces changes in the drug reimbursement policy

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has announced amendments to the drug programme policies, giving the MoH the authority to accept changes in the reimbursement lists instead of the pharmas, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA17) on Wednesday.
According to the current regulations, in order to change or add new drugs to a drug programme, every pharma involved needs to accept such a change individually, but this leads to a conflict of interests, with some companies rejecting the changes.
The amendment to the drug programme policy giving the MoH the final decision about the shape of the reimbursement lists has been mentioned in the strategic government document named National Medicines Policy in Poland 2018-2022. According to this document, each drug programme will have a dedicated team of specialists whose task will be to supervise the eligibility and selection of patients entering the programme.

Polish hospitals lacking cancer markers because of changes in drug export policies

The amendments to the pharmaceutical law, which were supposed to combat illegal drug exports, have led to the closure of one of Poland's largest wholesalers of breast cancer markers and, as a result, some of the smaller hospitals need to postpone planned operations, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA13) on Thursday.
Apart from the breast cancer markers, Poland also has a shortage of Samarium-153, a marker used in cases of bone metastases. Both were imported by PolAtom-Hurt, a wholesaler of the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ).
As the NCBJ was simultaneously operating an occupational health clinic, its operations were illegal according to the amendments to the Pharmaceutical Law, which prohibit the combination of wholesale and healthcare businesses.
Despite appeals, on 1 August, the Chief Pharmaceutical Inspectorate closed PolAtom-Hurt, a company that had been operating for 30 years. PolAtom's employees are currently helping supply cancer markers through smaller companies.

Price of medical cannabis in Canada falls

The price of medical cannabis dropped by 42 cents to 10.23 Canadian dollars (€7) per gram for the first time since the legalisation was passed in Canada on 17 October 2018, reported Puls Biznesu (p20) on Tuesday.

Polish fund manager redirected to produce medical cannabis

Hemp & Wood, a former fund manager named EBC Solicitors, has signed a lease with a company owning 25 hectares of farmlands and halls with a 10 megawatt photovoltaic installation to produce medical cannabis and industrial hemp, report Rzeczpospolita (pA18) and Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p06) on Friday.
EBC Solicitors announced the change in the company's profile and the shift towards projects involving industrial hemp and medical cannabis, as well as R&D into industrial hemp with subsidies from the European Union in June, reported both newspapers.
Hemp & Wood plans to expand into production and distribution of medical cannabis and industrial hemp in Poland and abroad, added Parkiet.
The value of the medical cannabis market is expected to reach two billion euros in Poland and 58 billion euros within the European Union by 2028, concluded both newspapers.

Celon has been granted an R&D subsidy

Two Celon Pharma projects have been awarded R&D subsidies of 54.6 million zlotys (€12.7 million) by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR), reported Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p04) on Tuesday.

A split Selvita debuts on Polish stock market

Selvita has split into two: Selvita, which will provide R&D services to third parties and conduct acquisitions, and Ryvu Therapeutics, which specialises in R&D into innovative molecules used in oncology, currently focusing on conducting clinical trials of Sel120 and developing other immuno-oncology projects at the preclinical stage, reported Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p07) on Wednesday and Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p01, p05) on Thursday.
According to Bogusław Sieczkowski, Selvita's president, the main target of the company's acquisitions will be companies in central and eastern Europe that will be easy to integrate within its existing structures, as well as small Western companies which are important in their research area and with unique skills, added Parkiet on Thursday.
Sieczkowski emphasised the opportunities for the service sector arising in the light of the US-China trade war, when US companies are currently looking for alternatives to Chinese services.
Additionally, the uncertain status of Brexit will give the biological service sector opportunities - the majority of drugs imported into the EU are certified in British laboratories, whereas Selvita could now offer competitive prices for these services in a convenient location.
The company is planning to limit its revenue growth to 30% a year. The risks include strong competition from the Chinese companies in the sector, recruitment and the maintenance of high mark-ups in this growing business, concluded Sieczkowski in Parkiet on Thursday.
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