WARSAW, 8 Nov (APM) - Recently adopted changes to Polish pharmaceutical law aimed at blocking illegal exports of treatments have backfired for patients as it has caused shortages of cancer markers used in oncology and breast cancer surgery, according to a letter from the ombudsman to the Polish Minister of Health.
The news was reported on Thursday by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB5). It noted that the latest amendment to Polish pharmaceutical law did not exempt radiopharmaceuticals, which are not illegally exported. It meant that wholesalers who also run medical businesses have had to choose which part of their business was to close.
Meanwhile, Poland’s largest wholesaler of radiopharmaceuticals closed, which resulted in a lack of markers in hospitals. It added that the recently passed amendment needs tweaking so as not cause any further harm to patients.
Polish pharmacies have major problems with vaccine availability
Many patients are struggling to purchase vaccines in Polish pharmacies, especially measles, smallpox, flu and HPV vaccines, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pA1-A3) reported on Thursday.
Both Poland's Ministry of Health and the Chief Sanitary Inspector confirmed that vaccines are not available to many pharmacies and wholesalers.
GdziePoLek, a website collecting data from around a thousand Polish pharmacies, reports that GlaxoSmithKline's Varilrix, a smallpox vaccine, has been unavailable since August. Merck Sharp & Dohme's HPV vaccine Gardasil 9, has been unavailable for several months. And GSK's measles vaccine, Priorix, can only be found in 8% of pharmacies, while its alternative, MSD Vaccin's M-M-RVaxPro, is completely unavailable.
The authorities have no way of forcing vaccine producers to increase their supply, especially if a product is not included in reimbursement lists. The problem is a particular burden for patients, who started a series of vaccinations that cannot be continued at the right time.
Several months ago, Gardasil 9 producer MSD Poland Gardasil 9 - which previously also made Gardasil 4 - announced it would try to make larger supplies for Poland, but the complex and time-consuming production process means that some wholesalers are expecting the vaccines no earlier than in 2021 or even 2022. An alternative is the vaccine produced by GSK, but this was targeted primarily at municipal vaccination programmes.
Sanofi's Vaxigrip tetra and Mylan's Influvac tetra flu jabs are slowly returning to pharmacies.
Warsaw has started vaccination programmes for teens and pensioners
Poland's Warsaw Municipality has started free vaccination programmes for HPV in boys and girls aged between 12 and 13, and for flu in a range of patients including those aged over 65, the homeless in shelters, children aged six to 60 months and pregnant women.
The report was carried by Gazeta Wyborcza in its Stoleczna supplement (p4) on Thursday.
Unvaccinated children will not be accepted in public crèches in Warsaw
Warsaw’s councillors plan to prevent unvaccinated children from even applying to public crèches in Warsaw, Gazeta Wyborcza reported in its Stołeczna supplement (p1).
Of the 13,000 children currently waiting for a place in free crèches, parents of 2,600 have admitted that their children had not been vaccinated. The rule will not apply to children who could not be vaccinated for health reasons documented by a doctor.
Stock market experts recommend investing in biotechs
According to a Polish stock market expert, investing in biotech companies conducting R&D or producing new medicines, especially those used in oncology or cardiology, may be long-term and risky but will be potentially financially rewarding, Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p05) reported on Saturday.
The biotechs with the highest yields this year are Pure Biologics (over 70% growth in the stock price), Celon Pharma (36%) and Sopharma (20%). The medical technology companies include Scope Fluidics (300%), Synektik (60%) and Medinice (40%).
Selvita’s share price soars as a result of bioinformatics
Selvita’s contract R&D company, Selvita, which separated from the internal R&D company, Ryvu Therapeutics, saw a significant increase on the Polish stock market at the end of the third quarter, Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p03) reported on Thursday.
Selvita has grown because of its bioinformatics operations. It also plans to grow through acquisitions in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile, Ryvu Therapeutics has reported losses because it is focusing on increasing the value of its projects which are to be commercialised later. Over the coming months, it will focus on its milestones, namely the nomination of a clinical trials candidate, the signature of a partnership agreement and the completion of phase I for SEL24.