Press review

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Treating patients at home with subcutaneous injections of Roche's Herceptin Hylecta saves money

MILAN, 31 Jan (APM) - Treating breast cancer patients with subcutaneous injections of Roche's Herceptin Hylecta (trastuzumab+hyaluronidase) at home can save money, About Pharma reported on Monday.
The specialist publication was covering news of a public/private partnership between the pharma group and Naples' Pascale Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori. The 'Herhome' project allows patients to have medically supervised treatments at home rather than going to the hospital.
According to Attilio Bianchi, director general of the cancer institute, this has two benefits: it allows patients to be more relaxed and frees up treatment places at the hospital.
Fabrizio Capuano, the regional delegate of the carers' federation FAVO, stressed a third advantage. "The subcutaneous drug is more expensive than the intravenous version, particularly if we consider the biosimilar version. However, the increase in the cost of the drug is largely offset by the savings in health resources that is obtained from subcutaneous administration," he told About Pharma.
According to Capuano, studies have shown that the shorter time required for subcutaneous administration can mean a saving of approximately €4,000 for the entire therapy cycle. This includes a reduction in the time and numbers of staff required for preparation and administration as well as avoiding the costs of venous access implants and the related maintenance.

Lilly's breast cancer drug Verzenios approved for reimbursement in Italy

Eli Lilly's Verzenios (abemaciclib) has been approved for reimbursement in Italy, allowing breast cancer patients to avoid having to do chemotherapy, Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.
The paper highlighted positive results of trials of the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor in combination with fulvestrant. Average life expectancy was 46.7 months compared ton 37.3 months with fulvestrant alone.
This means Verzenios can be a key weapon for 10,000 Italian patients who have to fight against advanced breast cancer every year, the paper said.
The drug is now available on the Italian market for all patients, in pre-, peri- and post-menopause who have hormone receptor-positive (HR+), epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. This was described as the most common type of breast cancer found in 70% of all cases in Italy where the disease is at an advanced stage
Pierfranco Conte, professor of medical oncology at the University of Padua and director of medical oncology at the Veneto Oncology Institute, described the drug as a very effective selective inhibitor capable of prolonging disease control in patients with hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

Italians misinformed about drugs spending, innovative therapies

Italians are misinformed about drugs spending and the benefits of innovative therapies, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
The author of the article, Massimo Bertelli, is general manager of Alynlam Italy. His company commissioned a survey which was conducted by Quorum/YouTrend through interviews with 1,500 people.
According to the results, eight out of 10 Italians are mistaken about or do not know how much Italy spends on drugs. Most believe it is more than 30% of total national health spending while there is widespread ignorance about how products are priced.
Only 30% of those interviewed could say what an orphan drug is and less than 50% understood what 'innovative drug' means.
The real figure for Italy's public spending on drugs is around 18%. Orphan drugs, often perceived as highly costly therapies, account for around 8% of total drugs spending, Bertelli said.

Zambon hires Ipsen chief to be global head of strategic operations

Zambon has hired Ipsen Italy's CEO to be its new global head of strategic operations, About Pharma reported on Monday.
Thibaud Eckenschwiller, who will take up his new post at the beginning of February, will also be responsible for global business development. Previously he worked for Novartis before joining Ipsen in 2010 where he was appointed country manager of the Italian subsidiary in 2014.
Stephane Brocker, head of the urology-oncology, neurosciences and paediatric endocrinology business unit at Ipsen, has been promoted to replace Eckenschwiller.

First coronavirus cases in Italy, flights to and from China stopped

Italy has confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus and immediately stopped flights to and from China, La Repubblica reports on Friday.
A Chinese couple called reception of their hotel in Rome earlier in the week saying they were unwell. Emergency services were called and they were taken to the city's Spallanzani hospital where they subsequently both tested positive to the virus.
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Italy has stopped all flights to and from China, claiming that it has been the first country in the world to block air travel. Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to transport Italians in the Wuhan province back to Italy where they will have to spend two weeks in quarantine, the paper said.
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