MILAN, 24 Jan (APM) - The pharma industry continued to outperform the rest of the economy on export markets in 2019, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Saturday.
The paper cited figures from the national statistics office Istat which showed that pharma sales outside Italy grew 20% in November.
Over the first 11 months of 2019 they increased 25.6% to just under €30 billion. The surge has been particularly strong in the U.S. with sales of drugs almost doubling in a year to more than €5 billion, the paper said.
Exports for industry as a whole fell 4.2% in November, with sales to non-EU countries down 8.1% and those to EU countries falling 0.9%. In the first 11 months Italy's exports increased 2.1%
The Wednesday edition of the paper cited another report from Istat which showed that the Italian drugs' industry's sales increased 6.5% in November. That compared to a 0.1% rise for the manufacturing sector as a whole.
Sicily authorises reimbursement of therapeutic cannabis
Sicily has authorised reimbursement of therapeutic cannabis when prescribed for specific conditions, Adnkronos reported on Tuesday.
A provision has been approved to allow cannabis-based drugs to be paid for by the national health service for patients with chronic, neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis spasticity.
To qualify, patients will have to be resident on the island and have had an "inadequate response or intolerance to conventional therapies", the news agency said.
Santa Sarta, vice president of the Medical Cannabis Patients Committee, described it as a big step forward, but warned there is still more to be done as some doctors still refuse to prescribe the drug, even for cancer patients. "That's why the decree is an important step. But it is not conclusive," she said.
She highlighted how Sicily has not authorised reimbursement of cannabis-based product for Alzheimer's and epilepsy, in contrast with Lazio, Lombardy and Trentino. She stressed the importance of having uniform and fair access to therapeutic cannabis throughout Italy.
Italian health minister sets up coronavirus task force
Italy's health minister, Roberto Speranza, has set up a task force which will be operational round the clock to tackle problems related to the coronavirus, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Wednesday.
Bodies involved include the national health institute ISS, medicines agency AIFA, the national institute for infectious diseases and the diplomatic corps, the online publication said.
A specific health channel has already been opened for all travellers arriving from the Chinese city Wuhan.
Claudio Mastroianni, vice president of the Italian infectious and tropical diseases society, SIMIT, highlighted in-depth knowledge of the virus, prevention of infection and contact surveillance as crucial measures to avoid large-scale infections.
More than 25% of Italian patients give up treatments for financial reasons
More than a quarter of patients in Italy give up treatments for financial reasons, according to survey by Deloitte, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
Around 3,500 patients were questioned and they gave the public health system an average rating of 6.5 out of 10. The average rating for private health was 7.3.
Guido Borsani, a senior partner at Deloitte, described patients giving up treatment as a major problem which is putting the universal nature of the public system at risk. This is reflected in the increasing numbers of patients looking for treatment outside their own region.
Borsani suggested private health insurance could be an answer in allowing patients to pay for services such as scans and hospital stays when waiting lists in the public system are too long.
Another issue highlighted was the low level of digitalisation in the health service. This was partly explained as a result of patients not knowing about what can be done electronically.
Italy launches national innovation fund with €1 billion resources
Italy has launched a national innovation fund with an initial €1 billion of resources to be invested in startups to grow the technology 'ecosystem', About Pharma reported on Wednesday.
The initiative was originally announced in March 2019. The state-owned financial institution Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) cleared the fund to start operating this week.
One of the objectives is to promote the creation of new investment tools to facilitate technology transfer from universities and research institutes and to encourage the active involvement of Italian companies in corporate venture capital.
Another is to support the overall growth of the venture capital market by promoting and facilitating the connection between national and international investors and startups.
CDP is expected to put in around €500 million of the starting capital, the finance ministry will contribute €300 million while the state-owned Invitalia will provide €200 million. The initial €1 billion could be increased if CDP so decides. Crowdfunding is not foreseen, About Pharma said.