Press review

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'Data wars' over Gilead's remdesivir in Covid-19 - Spanish press

Country : China, Italy, Spain, Sweden, U.S.

Keywords :
MADRID, 1 May (APM) - Daily newspaper El País on Thursday carried the headline 'Data wars between physicians and pharmaceutical firm Gilead over a possible Covid-19 treatment', whereas other newspapers carried stories about different trials of the drug in question, remdesivir.
On Thursday, El País reported that a clinical trial in China showed no benefits with remdesivir in Covid-19, "whereas the manufacturer offers unrevised information suggesting the contrary".
The newspaper referred to remdesivir as one of the most promising drugs to become a Covid-19 therapy, but noted it is immersed in a complex data war between doctors who claim the antiviral has no benefits for patients and Gilead, which defends its potential.
Remdesivir was developed to treat Ebola, but studies published in 2019 failed to prove its efficacy. "A few days ago, the only evidence about its efficacy against the new coronavirus were data from in vitro experiments with human cells and in vivo trials with animal models of MERS, a similar virus," El País said.
This week, a study showed 53 patients with severe disease treated with the drug improved. However, it was "impossible" to know whether the drug contributed or not. A number of clinical trials with the drugs are ongoing, some funded by the manufacturer and others by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the newspaper added. (APMHE 66656)
On Thursday, Gilead disclosed preliminary data of one of its trials with 400 hospitalised patients with severe Covid-19 in the US, Italy, Korea and Spain. These data have not been revised by independent experts or published in a scientific magazine, one of the inviolable rules of scientific communications, at least until the new coronavirus pandemic hit, it added.
The study compares progression of patients who were administered remdesivir for five days to that of other group who received the drug for a 10-day period. No placebo group for comparison was included, "something essential to quality clinical trials", El País reported.
An unexpected publication, also this week, in The Lancet magazine, this one with a placebo arm and revised by independent experts, suggested the drug is well tolerated but does not offer substantial benefits. These data were filtered before their publication and that is why the magazine's editors eventually decided to publish them, according to the newspaper. (APMHE 67081)
In a latest, unexpected turn, The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) released preliminary data of its own remdesivir trial, before it has been completed and revised. This one favours the drug's efficacy. (APMHE 67137)
On Thursday, daily newspapers El Mundo, La Vanguardia, financial newspapers El Economista, Cinco Días, Expansión and Europa Press agency carried stories based on Gilead's information. Daily newspaper El Periódico said scientists call for caution until more data about the drug are gathered and analyses.
On Friday, El País carries a follow-up story saying that the rush to find a treatment has wrecked conventional scientific methodology. In the story, disparities in data about chloroquine are mentioned.

Spain's Cinfa focuses on guaranteeing drug supplies

On Wednesday, financial newspaper El Economista carried an interview with Enrique Ordieres, president of generics' manufacturer firm Cinfa.
Ordieres told the financial that at the beginning of 2020 the firm acquired an exceptional provision of the raw ingredients needed in their manufacturing processes, which has allowed a sustained production of their medicines. "It is our top priority," he said.
Ordieres said that working shifts have been reinforced and that security measures already implemented in drug manufacturing have now been reinforced in Cinfa plants. Office personnel are mostly working from home, he added.

Dexrazoxane efficient in cardio protection of children receiving chemotherapy

A study by researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia suggests that dexrazoxane can be efficient as a cardioprotective treatment in paediatric patients undergoing chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), daily newspaper ABC reported on Tuesday.
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. ABC quoted co-author Kelly Getz as saying: "To our knowledge, these data are the first demonstration of a potential survival benefit with dexrazoxane, specifically a reduction in treatment-related mortality."

Pharma focused on research and manufacturing in pandemic

On Friday, financial El Economista report that pharma companies are focusing their efforts in developing a treatment for Covid-19 and, at the same time, adapting their production plants to guarantee supplies of medicines.
In a separated Thursday story, the financial reported that companies have committed to making Covid-19 treatments affordable. Both stories were based on comments by representatives of Spanish branded pharma lobby group Farmaindustria. (APMHE 67157)

PharmaMar signs agreement with Sweden's Immedica

Sweden's Immedica will sell PharmaMar's cancer drug lurbinectedin, daily newspaper 20 Minutos, financial newspapers Expansión and El Economista reported on Thursday. (APMHE 67126)
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