Press review

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Biogen releases more data on Phase III trial of aducanumab in Alzheimer's

Country : Canada, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, U.S., UK

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LONDON, 6 Dec (APM) - The presentation of more data from Biogen's Phase III trial programme of aducanumab in Alzheimer's disease was picked up by the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times on Thursday.
The Telegraph said the results showed that aducanumab can reduce 'decline in function' by 40% compared to placebo over 18 months.
Participants also reported significant improvements in memory and the ability to carry out everyday tasks, such as dressing and eating, said the paper.
The FT said the Biogen is trying to "win over sceptics" with the results, noting that Biogen had to convince regulators from the two studies which it had previously abandoned.
The paper quoted chief medical officer Alfred Sandrock who told analysts to put faith in Biogen's history of filing studies based on suitable data.
"We don't file willy-nilly," he said.

Pimavanserin shows benefits in reducing psychosis in dementia

The Times on Friday says that a drug known as pimavanserin could help people with dementia who experience psychosis.
The medicine, which affects serotonin signalling in the brain, cut the risk of a relapse into psychosis by more than half, said the paper, citing research by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
The placebo group was twice as likely to relapse into psychosis as those who received pimavanserin (28% compared with about 13%).

U.S. willing to scrap exclusivity provisions in Canada/Mexico trade deal talks

The FT on Wednesday said the Tump administration is prepared to scrap provisions in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact that would benefit pharma companies selling drugs in Canada and Mexico.
The paper cited people briefed on the negotiations, saying that the U.S. has signalled it is willing to make concessions on a previous agreement that would allow drugmakers 10 year of patent protection before the market was open to generic competition.
In the U.S., these protections last for 12 years but in Canada and Mexico they are eight and five years, respectively, said the paper.

Lord Darzi criticises Corbyn's plans for compulsory licensing

The Sunday Times featured an opinion piece by Lord Darzi, a former Labour health minister, on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's plans to create a state-owned and state-regulated pharmaceutical company able to produce versions of patented drugs if they are too expensive.
Darzi described the plans as a "blunderbuss remedy" to prevent issues such as the recent struggle for access to Vertex's cystic fibrosis drugs.
"Such a move would threaten the entire pharmaceutical industry and Britain's world-leading role in innovation," said Darzi.
"Forcing pharmaceutical companies to surrender their intellectual property so that their products could be copied — a process known as compulsory licensing — would discourage companies from launching new medicines and slow the research pipeline, curbing the flow of innovative drugs becoming available."

Campaigners angry that UK deal for cystic fibrosis drugs does not include Trikafta

The Mail on Sunday said that cystic fibrosis campaigners in the UK are criticising the recent deal for access to Vertex's Orkambi, saying that U.S. patients already have access to the next generation drug Trikafta but this won't be available in the UK until 2021.
The paper spoke to a source who said: "The deal is a fudge because it excluded an option for Trikafta. And politicians didn't make that clear at all. It all feels like a cover-up - or deliberately misleading at best."

New study offers hope for reducing lung inflammation in cystic fibrosis

The Times on Tuesday reported on studies of a molecule that could offer a new approach to treating people with cystic fibrosis.
Research by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) found that MCC950 could reduce inflammation in the lungs, one of the leading causes of lung disease, which can be fatal in people with cystic fibrosis.
The paper quoted professor Gerry McElvaney, the study's joint senior author and a professor of medicine at RCSI, who said that the work was "an important first step to significantly improving outcomes for people with CF".
"While more testing is required, we believe these results are very promising and could make this molecule a candidate for clinical trials," he said.

Seizures of illegal diazepam tablets double in a year

The number of illegal diazepam tablets seized entering the UK has more than doubled in a year, figures obtained by the BBC show.
Some 1.3 million were intercepted in the postal system by the UK's Border Force in 2018, up from 545,000 in 2017, the BBC reported on Thursday.
Doctors warn the authenticity of diazepam bought online cannot be trusted. It is illegal to possess without a prescription. The medicines regulator said selling such drugs was a "serious offence".
Its figures, for tablets that tested positive for diazepam, do not include the number of fake pills being seized.

Aspirin could benefit cancer patients

Taking aspirin three times a week or more may give people with cancer a better shot at surviving the disease, a new study suggests and reported in the Daily Mail on Wednesday.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that followed over 140,000 Americans found that those who stuck to an aspirin regimen were at lower risks of developing prostate, colorectal, lung or ovarian cancers.
However, the benefits seem to only apply to people who are in the normal weight range. Taking aspirin had no effects for underweight or overweight people.
Experts say that the fact that so many people were included in the analysis is promising - but caution that other factors may contribute, such as the likelihood that the same type of people who take aspirin on a regular basis are healthier overall.

Statins in 20s may help people avoid heart attacks and strokes in later life, say experts

Prescribing statins to people in their 20s could prevent heart attacks and strokes in their 70s, a new study has suggested, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
Researchers who analysed the health outcomes for 400,000 people aged between 40 and 59, found those who had high cholesterol at a young age were far more likely to suffer cardiovascular problems 30 years later.
Although it was known that cholesterol in middle age and older is dangerous, nobody had ever looked to see if the same risks applied for younger people.
The scientists from Queen's University Belfast and Germany said that high cholesterol in young people may be even more dangerous because they are exposed to it for longer.
Professor Stefan Blankenberg, medical and clinical director at the University Heart and Vascular Center in Hamburg, said: "You should determine your cholesterol at the very young age. You need to enable these younger individuals to do something about the risk.
"Our research suggests that having bad cholesterol levels may be associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events by the age of 75 years, and this reduction in risk is larger the sooner the cholesterol levels are reduced."
He added that cholesterol could be measured at the age of 25 or 30 to give people the opportunity to change their lifestyles or take a statin.
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