Press review

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Novartis tops Spanish pharma reputation ranking

MADRID, 13 Dec (APM) - Novartis, Pfizer, Janssen, Bayer and Sanofi are the pharmaceutical firms with the best reputation in Spain, according to a recent survey, daily newspaper La Vanguardia, Europa Press agency and medical journal Redacción Médica report on Friday.
The 2019 MRS report is based on a survey of more than 6,000 healthcare professionals, pharma executives, healthcare authorities, patients and journalists and includes over 200 objective indicators, La Vanguardia reports.
Novartis has been at the top of the ranking for four consecutive years, with the best reputation in the fields of cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology and family medicine. Pfizer was also second in the 2018 ranking, with its best scores in intensive medicine, internal medicine, orthopaedics and trauma.
A change in the latest MRS report is that Janssen has escalated from the fourth to the third position, with its bests scores in haematology, dermatology, venereology and psychiatry, the newspaper adds.
Bayer's is the steepest improvement, from the seventh to the fourth position and a particularly good reputation in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. Sanofi ranks lower than in 2018, from third to fifth, but it holds its position as the leading pharma in terms of reputation in the fields of general surgery and digestive medicine. Roche also ranks lower, but it leads the oncology area, the newspaper notes.
Even though it ranks seventh, GlaxoSmithKline is best regarded when it comes to allergology, pneumology, otorhinolaryngology and paediatrics. At the bottom of the top 10 are Lilly, MSD and AstraZeneca.
All healthcare professionals agreed on granting Novartis the highest reputation scores, with the exemption of hospital pharmacists, which chose Roche instead, the newspaper added.

CAR-Ts 'most expensive therapy in the world'

On Thursday, daily newspaper El País carried an article about the pros and cons of CAR-Ts, with the headline: 'The dilemma about the most expensive therapy in the world'
Two CAR-Ts have been approved for reimbursement in Spain, namely Gilead's Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) and Novartis' Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel). (APMHE 63570, APMHE 59438). With approximately 300 patients treated annually, using CAR-Ts would cost €60 million each year, El País said.
The newspaper quoted Loretta Nastoupil, from the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, as saying: "As a doctor, I now have an unexpected curative option for my patients. We can now save the lives of patients who were terminally ill. It is difficult to put a price on that."
On the other hand, the high price of CAR-Ts will bring difficult times for those who manage public healthcare budgets, El País said.
In spite of CAR-Ts efficiency, Nastoupil does not think it will be necessary to use them at early disease stages because 60% of patients recover with a combination of first-line chemotherapy and immunotherapy. In those who do not show a clinical response, 20% usually get better with chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, she added.
However, there are signs that if CAR-Ts were administered at early disease stages, right after second-line treatments, it could be even more effective, the newspaper noted.

First child treated with CAR-Ts in Spain in complete remission

An 11-year-old patient, the first child to be treated with CAR-Ts in Spain, left La Paz Hospital in Madrid after the medical team confirmed he is in complete remission, daily newspapers El Mundo, La Razón, medical journal Gaceta Médica and a number of regional newspapers reported on Wednesday and Thursday.
Since these therapies are complex and serious complications can occur, an interdisciplinary group of experts collaborated to treat the boy and guarantee the highest safety standards were observed in all procedures, including haematologists, neurologists, internal medicine, immunology, genetics specialists, hospital pharmacists and specialised nurses, the newspaper noted.

Sanofi's shares rise on changed strategy

Sanofi's shares climbed almost 6% after its change in strategy was announced, financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on Wednesday.
The plan is to focus on blockbuster drugs, oncology, vaccines and orphan drugs, chief executive Paul Hudson announced earlier in the week. (APMHE 65437)
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