WARSAW, 26 June (APM) - On the last straight in the presidential elections, President Andrzej Duda presented a bill establishing a new medical fund which is to receive 2.75 billion zlotys (€620 million) reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pA1, A6) on Tuesday and (pB9) on Thursday, and Rzeczpospolita (pA11) on Thursday and (pA11) on Friday and Gazeta Wyborcza (p7) on Friday.
The bill is expected to increase overall spending on healthcare in Poland. The fund is expected to improve access to more expensive drugs, for example in the emergency access to drug technologies (RTDL) procedure and offer conditional access to drugs, as well as encouraging pharmas to apply for the reimbursement of their drugs.
The fund is expected to be targeted at oncology patients, patients with rare diseases and paediatrics.
Meanwhile, Gazeta Wyborcza claims the funding is purely an accounting reclassification within the state budget and not additional funding for healthcare. Its objective appears to be to reimburse new originator drugs, which have not received reimbursement decisions. It is expected to help large, primarily U.S. pharmas but will also mean there will be no pressure on pharmas to reduce prices on non-reimbursed originator drugs.
President Duda submitted the bill to parliament on Tuesday.
Dexamethasone has proved effective against Covid-19
Scientists from the University of Oxford have proved that dexamethasone, a popular glucosteroid, is effective against Covid-19 which has already been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be used only at the last stage of treatment, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pA6) on Monday.
According to experts, the drug needs to be tested further before being recommended by the WHO, as its recommendation may lead to overuse of the drug which, when used incorrectly, can prove dangerous to patients or even aggravate the virus.
The Polish Ministry of Health has not yet started placing orders for the drug. Both dexamethasone and the previously recommended Arechin are produced by the Polish company, Adamed, which is donating the drug to patients suffering from Covid-19 free of charge.
In the 'Recovery' study on 11,500 patients in 175 UK hospitals, it has been proved that dexamethasone reduces the risk of death of patients under mechanical ventilation from 40% to 28% and those under oxygen therapy from 25% to 20%. Patients with mild symptoms do not benefit from taking the drug.
Pure Biologics granted an advance for R&D
Pure Biologics received an advance of 3 million zlotys (€673,793) on a grant from the National Centre for Research and Development for developing its drug, PB004, Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p3) on Saturday.
Biomed Lublin prepares for production of anti-Sars-CoV-2 immunoglobulin drug
After Biomed Lublin, a Polish tuberculosis (BCG) vaccine producer, announced it is working on its own anti-Sars-CoV-2 immunoglobulin drug at the end of April, its share price soared by 60%, even though it could not start production because of the unsuitable procedures for collecting plasma from Covid-19 survivors, but is now expecting to receive suitable plasma by the end of July, reported Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p5) on Tuesday and (p1, p2) on Thursday.
Biomed Lublin has partnered with Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Lublin Institute of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine to work on a project which received a 5 million zloty (€1.12 million) grant from the Polish Medical Research Agency (ABM).
Nevertheless, production of the anti-Sars-CoV-2 immunoglobulin drug could not start because of the inappropriate procedure for collecting plasma from Covid-19 survivors.
After appeals to the Ministry of Health supervising the Regional Blood Centres (RCKiK) which collect the plasma, Biomed is finally expecting its first batch of active plasma by the end of July. The company claims it will have the first drug candidate three months after receiving the first batch of 150 litres of plasma, reported Parkiet on Tuesday.
According to Marcin Pirog, of Biomed Lublin's President, the drug will be ready for clinical trials in September and will be launched onto the market in early 2021.
Biomed will be ready to initially produce 30,000-35,000 doses a year and will primarily focus on the needs of Polish patients. Biomed will also soon start trials of the effectiveness of its BCG vaccine against Covid-19, added Parkiet on Thursday.