Press review

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Spanish pharma do not expect shortage due to China’s coronavirus outbreak

MADRID, 28 Feb (APM) - Pharmaceutical companies operating in Spain do not expect drug shortages caused by coronavirus-led manufacturing problems in China so long as the situation remains unchanged, Farmaindustria told financial newspaper Cinco Días on Wednesday.
Spanish branded pharma lobby group Farmaindustria has carried out an informal survey among "a significant group of its members". Asked by Cinco Días, the group said that, for the time being, no shortages are expected in Spain if the infection caused by the novel COVID-19 coronavirus does not show changing features.
"Most branded drugs do not depend on direct supplies from China to manufacture their medicines. Those which do, have enough safety stock to maintain production normally," the sources said.

Coronavirus round-up

The rest of the coverage on coronavirus in Spanish newspapers focused on the number of new cases and the most relevant advances in the development of a treatment or a vaccine for the infection.
On Monday, financial newspaper El Economista highlighted Gilead in an editorial with the headline: "There is always someone who makes the best out of a crisis: this might be the case of pharmaceutical company Gilead". The editorial focused on its potential treatment for COVID-19 infection, remdesivir.
On Wednesday, financial newspaper Cinco Días reported that Gilead’s remdesivir is the most promising drug to treat novel coronavirus infection. The financial newspaper quoted Bruce Aylward, from the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that the medicine "can be the only efficient treatment for coronavirus".
On Friday, Europa Press agency and medical journal Gaceta Médica report that clinical trials with remdesivir are imminent with regulators approving them at speed. (APMHE 66379)
More than 100 clinical trials have already been launched in China, including some using antibodies of patients who have recovered from the infection, Cinco Días noted.
In a related Wednesday story, Cinco Días reported that the U.S. has started monitoring potential shortages linked to manufacturing sites closed in China. (APMHE 66347)
According to the newspaper, the FDA has already contacted manufacturers of 20 at-risk drugs whose active ingredients are mainly manufactured in China regarding this situation. No specifics were offered on the drugs which might be affected, nor any company names have been shared by the FDA, Cinco Días added.

Disagreement over pharma’s compensation for increased drug bill

Spain’s Farmaindustria and the finance ministry have not agreed on the terms of the compensation that the lobby agreed to pay if the public healthcare bill exceeded the growth of the gross domestic product (GDP), something which happened for the first time in 2018 (APMHE 65708), financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on Tuesday.
The negotiations have reached a dead end regarding which companies will pay the compensation. An estimated 12% of the refunds affect companies which are not represented by Farmaindustria and therefore did not sign the agreement to limit drug expenditure. Gilead is one of them. Another one is Catalonian firm Grifols.
Finance minister María Jesús Montero has told Farmaindustria that the refunds will have to meet the total amount exceeding GDP threshold, whereas Farmaindustria argued that they will not pay for companies which contributed to increase the public drug bill but did not sign the agreement.
Approximately €22 million is the figure in question, Cinco Días reported. Farmaindustria made an initial €121 million payment, but how much or when will be paid depends on the negotiation, that finance minister sources told the newspaper are at a standstill.
Gilead sources told Cinco Días that they are not part of the agreement, adding that they have showed their commitment to contribute to sustainability with price drops of innovative drugs over the past four years.

Pharma seen as the pillar of a new productive model for Spain

Pharma is a key industry in the necessary evolution of Spain’s economy, focusing more on innovation and research, financial newspaper Expansión reports on Friday.
The newspaper quotes president Pedro Sánchez’s recent comments about the need to consolidate the country’s economy "by turning to the most productive areas, namely science, innovation, research and quality jobs".
Pharma will play a key role in this, said representatives of pharma at a meeting organised by the newspaper with the support of branded lobby Farmaindustria.
Their demands to the government are mainly dialogue and collaboration, Roberto Úrbez, head of Bristol-Myers Squibb Spain said. Expansión quotes Úrbez as saying: "We are at a good moment to guarantee that Spain remains at the top of the global ranking in terms of research and clinical trials."
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