Press review

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Shortages of 422 drugs in Polish pharmacies

Country : Canada, Poland, U.S.

Keywords :
WARSAW, 20 Dec (APM) - The Ministry of Health (MoH) says Polish pharmacies have shortages of 422 drugs, which is over 100 more than the official number declared officially during the Polish drug crisis in July, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB6) on Monday.
Among the missing medications are anticoagulants, such as Clexane and Xarelto, a few insulins, schizophrenia and ADHD therapies, as well as Euthyrox for treating thyroid diseases. The shortages stem from illegal exports from Poland, which are slowly declining but still estimated at 2 billion zlotys (€470 million) a year, and from the dependence of EU pharmas on irregular supplies of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from Asia.

Pregnant Polish patients will not pay for medications

An amendment to the Pharmaceutical Law will become effective in July 2020, granting pregnant patients access to fully reimbursable medications, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB11) and Rzeczpospolita (pA12) on Wednesday.
The free drugs will include all prescription drugs needed to continue the pregnancy. The programme will cater for 400,000 pregnant patients a year and will primarily encompass hypertension and gestational diabetes drugs. The change in legislation is estimated to cost 14.5 million zlotys (€3.4 million) in 2020.

Shortages of HPV vaccines in Poland

Radom and other Polish cities implementing a free municipal HPV vaccination programme for girls are struggling to supply enough vaccines for their second doses, reported Gazeta Wyborcza (p11) in its Strony Lokalne Supplement.
The cost of the programme in Radom is 120,000 zlotys (€28,139).

Innovative therapies will advance diabetes treatment in Poland

Flozines, innovative treatments for diabetes, have been reimbursable for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes before the introduction of insulin since November and now incretin mimetic drugs (GLP-1 analogues), such as Dulaglutide and Semaglutide are applying for inclusion on the reimbursement lists from 1 January, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA9) on Tuesday and Gazeta Wyborcza (p07) on Wednesday.

Gastrointestinal cancer patients will receive chemotherapy at home

The National Health Fund (NHF) is working with oncology experts on the possibility of gastrointestinal cancer patients to undergo individual chemotherapy procedures without the need for two-day hospitalisation, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA14) on Monday and Gazeta Wyborcza in its Tylko Zdrowie Supplement (p16-19) on Tuesday.
Patient organisations support the idea, because the solution will improve the quality of life of the patients, save them additional stress and the chances of infections caused by staying in hospital and the hospitals will save beds and shorten the waiting lists for other oncology patients. Such home-chemotherapy may be taken as many as 500 patients, who currently occupy 250 hospital beds throughout the country on a daily basis reported both newspapers.

Polish colon cancer patients have access to the first innovative treatments

The Trifluridine/Tipiracil combination used during the third of four stages of treatment, which was recently added to the reimbursement list, together with better diagnoses, targeted therapies and shorter chemotherapy treatments, are ways of greatly improving the chances of patients suffering from colon cancer, a disease affecting an increasing number of young patients not only in Poland but worldwide, reported Gazeta Wyborcza in its Tylko Zdrowie Supplement (p16-19) on Tuesday.

Psychedelics are researched among psychology therapies in U.S.

After long negotiations with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, is now being studied within the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies in the U.S. (MAPS), to create new therapies for patients suffering from addictions, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), drug-resistant depression and other psychological disorders, reported Gazeta Wyborcza in its Duży Format supplement (p14-15) on Monday.
The use of MDMA in PTSD has reached the final phase of clinical trials and has been referred to as a "breakthrough therapy", doubling the effectiveness of therapy for patients suffering from the condition.
The end of the clinical trials is planned for 2021, after which the emergence of specialised clinics with qualified staff will be negotiated. Until then, the psychedelic substances will be penalised in most countries worldwide, but the recent depenalisation of marijuana in some States and the legalisation of medical cannabis show such substances should not be ignored by today's pharmaceutical researchers.

Polish pharma market grows

According to the research company, PEX Pharma-Sequence, the Polish pharma market has grown by 3.9% since November last year, reaching 3.129 billion zlotys (€734 million), but has declined by 9% compared to last month, reported Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p07) on Thursday.

Polish hospitals will make group drug purchases

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is working on a solution for hospitals to make group purchases of supplies for national drug programmes, which will make budget savings on the price of the therapies and thus allow for more patients to be included in those programmes, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB8) on Thursday.

No access to medical cannabis for Polish patients

According to the report of the parliamentary committee on legalising cannabis, patients have no real access to medical cannabis in Poland, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA15) on Thursday.
Only two Canadian companies are currently able to supply medical cannabis to the Polish market, but the legalisation of recreational marijuana in Canada has led to a shortage of raw materials for medical cannabis. Patients suffering from cancer or drug-resistant epilepsy have been applying to the Ministry of Health for the reimbursement of medical cannabis from direct personal imports, but have been denied.

Delay in EMA's MabionCD20 recommendation

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet given a positive recommendation for MabionCD20, a rituximab biosimilar and an oncology drug used for treating lymphomas, leukaemia and autoimmune diseases, reported Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p04) on Saturday and (p05) on Tuesday and Puls Biznesu (p17) on Monday.
MabionCD20 has been reviewed in the extended procedure and the company will now need to reply to an additional round of questions, regarding such matters as the details of MabionCD20's production procedures and the similarities between the biosimilar and the originator drug, Rituxan, reported all newspapers.
The lack of positive recommendation has delayed the the achieved milestone agreed with its distribution partner, Mylan and therefore the first payment, added Puls Biznesu on Monday. It is estimated that sales of MabionCD20 on EU markets will generate 100 million euros a year, continued Puls Biznesu on Monday.
The company is also working on registering of the product on the U.S. market and will meet the Food and Drug Administration on 22 January, added Parkiet.
The delay in the recommendation resulted in a 30% fall in Mabion's share price on the Polish stock market in one week, concluded Parkiet on Tuesday.

Celon Pharma ready for clinical trials

Celon Pharma has completed pre-clinical trials of its GPR40 receptor agonist and has applied to the Office for the Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products for permission to start its clinical trials in the treatment of metabolic disorders, reported Parkiet Gazeta Giełdy (p4) on Tuesday.
The first phase of the trials is to be conducted on 70 healthy volunteers and is planned to last six months.

Polfa to receive government subsidy

Polfa Tarchomin, Poland's last state-owned pharma specialising in the production of antibiotics, central nervous system (CNS) and dermatology drugs, human insulins and dietary supplements, will be granted a subsidy of 200 million zlotys (€46.9 million) from the Polish government, reports Puls Biznesu (p5) on Friday.
The subsidy will be used to expand Polfa's lyophilised injection production lines and electrical infrastructure, the construction of new laboratories and investment in highly potent oncology drugs. The company also plans to sell eight hectares of their excess lands worth 36 million zlotys (€8.4 million), to be followed by a further 70 hectares, which will give funds for further growth.
The company employs 1,000 staff, and recorded a net profit of 11 million zlotys (€2.6 million) in the first three quarters of 2019.
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