Press review


Global pandemic highlights pharma's dependence on Asia, says Polish press

Country : China, India, Poland, U.S.

Keywords :
WARSAW, 1 May (APM) - The lockdowns that affected pharma producers in China's Hubea province and in India at in March resulted in western countries facing drug crises, it has been reported in Poland.
Local drug producers are still dependent on active ingredients from Asia while patients still need antibiotics and paracetamol from India, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (p18-22) on Thursday.
This situation has laid the foundation for a discussion on the development of local production of primary drugs and antibiotics subsidised by national governments or on increasing national drug reserves to prevent drug crises caused by broken supply chains in the future.

Polish lung cancer patients need equal access to innovative drugs

A recent report shows that lung cancer is the most common malignant tumour and the main cause of death from cancer in Poland, while oncology experts are fighting for increased access to molecular-targeted therapies and immunotherapies, reported Rzeczpospolita (pQ2-3) on Thursday.
Pembrolizumab (monotherapy) is currently the standard procedure in the first line of treatment of non-small cell lung cancer with PD-L1 expression above 50% and immunotherapy (with the use of nivolumab or atezolizumab) in the second line of treatment regardless of the PD-L1 expression.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is now revising reimbursement applications to expand the lung cancer drug programme (B.6) for the first line of treatment of non-small cell cancer of squamous cell carcinoma type with pembrolizumab and in combination with chemotherapy for patients suffering from non-squamous NSCLC with PD-L1 expression of less than 50%.

Pandemic should not be excuse for loosening drug policies

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, in combination with azithromycin, a bacteriostatic antibiotic used for treating upper respiratory tract diseases, are examples of existing drugs that have been exceptionally approved for use in Covid-19 cases, but due to their serious adverse effects, this decision is stirring up controversies among medical experts worldwide, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (p46-49) on Thursday.
In the era of Covid-19, where there is no dedicated cure for the disease, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of these drugs for treating Covid-19 without sufficient research and development.
Medical societies have reported that improper use of medications can lead to ventricular tachycardia and death. Despite the risks, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also approved the use of anti-malaria therapies in the battle against the coronavirus but only in clinical trials or national anti-crisis programmes. Only after the drugs successfully pass clinical trials will they be approved for general use in Covid-19 cases.

Biomed will use plasma from Covid-19 survivors in search of cure

Biomed Lublin, a Polish tuberculosis (BCG) vaccine producer, has announced it is working with Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Lublin to produce immunoglobulins from the plasma of Covid-19 survivors to combat the virus, reported Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p7) on Wednesday and (p4) on Thursday.
The company and the hospital will share the intellectual and industrial property rights, while Biomed will have exclusive rights for commercialising the therapy. The testing process is planned to last 12 months.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation researches Covid-19 vaccine

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced it will dedicate all its assets ($40 billion) to research for a Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected within 12 months, reported Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p10) on Tuesday.

Diagnostyka will conduct Drive&Go-Thru Covid-19 tests

Diagnostyka, a Polish diagnostic laboratory chain, is opening 10 in-field mobile Covid-19 sample collection points for medical staff and private customers, reported Rzeczpospolita (pQ3) on Tuesday and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (p80-82) on Thursday.
Each point has a capacity of 120 samples a day and the results of the RT-PCR method tests are available within 24 hours. Diagnostyka's sponsors will enable healthcare workers to be tested free of charge. The company is listed as a regional laboratory of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Novartis researching existing Covid-19 treatments

Instead of conducting research into new drugs, Novartis is studying existing drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, ruxolitinib, a medication for treating cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and fingolimod used in cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) against severe cases of Covid-19, reported Puls Biznesu (p10) on Wednesday.
Despite the troubles caused by the pandemic, the company has a good stock of active ingredients, so its production and ongoing clinical trials are not disrupted.
Novartis has also created a $20 million fund to support local communities during the pandemic, 2 million zlotys (€440,000) of which were allocated to Poland: half to Warsaw Genomics to finance production of Covid-19 tests and the other half to the National Health Fund. Novartis is also working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on R&D work to find a cure for the virus.

Scientists from Jagiellonian University work on Covid-19 drug

HTCC is a substance developed by the biotechnologists from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow headed by professor Krzysztof Pyrc, proving to have a strong inhibiting effect on coronavirus infections in both in vitro and ex vivo tests, but testing and registration for use on human patients may still take years, reported Rzeczpospolita (pQ1) on Thursday.



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