Press review

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New chairman installed at Italy’s AIFA ahead of selection process to choose next director general

MILAN, 8 Nov (APM) - A new chairman has been installed at Italy’s medicines agency AIFA ahead of the start of a selection process which will see the director general replaced, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Friday.
Domenico Mantoan, who was a senior health official in Veneto, was chosen by the regional government conference in October to head the regulator’s board. AIFA has not had a chairman since August 2018 when Stefano Vella resigned over the government’s migrant policies.
"I will use my knowledge and everything that I have learned in many years of work in the health sector, for the service of AIFA, knowing that management of drugs is strategic for the future of our system," Mantoan said.
Massimo Scaccabarozzi, the head of the pharma lobby group Farmindustria, welcomed Mantoan saying his experience and professionalism will be a valuable contribution to the agency’s work.
"The challenges of today and tomorrow, access to innovation, sustainability, management of chronic diseases, can only be met with a synergistic action by patients, doctors and everyone else in the health sector. AIFA plays a fundamental role in this," he said.
The next step will be to choose a new director general for AIFA after health minister Roberto Speranza decided to replace the incumbent Luca Li Bassi. A new chief executive, once he or she has been chosen, is due to take over by 9 December, the paper noted.

AbbVie invested €130 million in Italian production site in under a decade

AbbVie’s investment in its Italian production site over the last eight years has amounted to €130 million, Il Messaggero reported on Wednesday.
The plant, south of Rome, is now equipped to make innovative drugs for a number of therapeutic areas including chronic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
During a meeting at the site to discuss the value of innovation, AbbVie’s CEO Fabrizio Greco said that it employs 1,500 people and exports to 110 different countries.
The company invested €40 million up to 2016, when a further €60 million was put in. This was followed by €30 million 2019. The company has 70 clinical trials ongoing in 580 hospital and university centres, the paper said.

Former Italian health minister told she was replaced in WhatsApp message

Italy's former health minister, Giulia Grillo, has claimed she was told she had been replaced in government in a WhatsApp message from a colleague, Il Messaggero reported on Thursday.
Grillo was unexpectedly dropped from the new administration which was formed at the beginning of September (APMHE 64249). She appeared on a programme on public broadcaster RAI’s Radio 1 on Thursday.
She told the programme that she has not spoken to Luigi Di Maio, a colleague in the Five Star Movement party and the then economy minister, since he sent her the WhatsApp message to say her services were no longer required.
"I was very angry for a few weeks. They torpedoed me and I didn't even know it (was going to happen). Now in my place there is a minister of a party that has 2.5% (of the vote), but that's okay," she said.
Grillo claimed she had little support for her policies and proposals made when she was health minister. She noted that she had proposed to abolish a universal prescription charge for many services and treatments but it was declined. The new health minister, Roberto Speranza, has now had the same proposal approved and it will be introduced in the 2020 budget law.
When Grillo was asked if she would like to be a minister again, she replied with a categoric no.

Still 470,000 people in Italy with HCV infection to be treated

There are estimated to be at least 470,000 people infected with hepatitis C in Italy still to be treated, ANSA reported on Wednesday.
But 300,000 of them will be hard to track down because they do not know they have the virus.
The figures were provided at an event in Milan, supported by Gilead, to announce the winners of a competition for the best video made about the disease and eliminating it.
Massimo Andreoni, the scientific director of the medical association SIMIT said Italy is one of nine countries recognised as having made good progress towards eradication. But the number of hidden cases remains a major obstacle because it is difficult to persuade people to be tested for the infection.

Italy’s high antibiotic use highlighted in OECD report

Italy’s high use of antibiotics has been highlighted in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
In 2017, 28 daily doses of antibiotics per 1,000 inhabitants were prescribed, compared to an OECD average of 18. Italy has a higher rate of healthcare-associated infections as well with almost 6% of hospital patients contracting one, the paper said.
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