Press review

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Oxford University's Covid-19 vaccine candidate likely to be the first available - Italian health minister

FLORENCE, 26 June (APM) - Italy's health minister is increasingly confident that Oxford University's vaccine will be the first to become available, Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.
The paper was one of several Italian media outlets to quote from an interview with Roberto Speranza which was published recently in The Washington Post.
The health minister stressed that he hopes that there will be more than one vaccine available. "But this is the vaccine our scientists think will arrive before the others. In this moment, there is no other company saying we could have the vaccine by the end of the year," he was quoted as saying.
Speranza, made clear that Italy will turn to any country that produces the vaccine, including China, saying that everything will be done so that people can be protected. But Italy is hopeful that it will be Oxford University's which will be successful.
Walter Ricciardi, the World Health Organization's Italian government adviser was reported to have said there is "quite a strong probability" that it will work.
According to The Washington Post, Italy's Advent, a contract manufacturing organisation which is part of the IRBM research group at Pomezia, was sent a few drops of "seed stock" to be used to start production of the vaccine. The company was required to turn that into enough doses for 13,000 people so that it could be tested in large-scale trials.

AbbVie chief reappointed to head Italian American lobby group

AbbVie's chief executive in Italy, Fabrizio Greco, has been reappointed as head of the Italian American Pharmaceutical Group (IAPG), according to Wednesday's Il Sole 24 Ore.
Italy is the first among the major European countries for production and employment by U.S. pharmaceutical companies, the paper said. IAPG represents the 15 largest U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies in Italy.
In 2019, they generated sales of €9 billion, accounting for more than a quarter of the entire sector. Investments have amounted to over €2 billion in the last five years, of which 57% in R&D and the rest in production.
Greco put collaboration, transparency and sharing of priority objectives as the most important requirement in the current crisis. He said the pharmaceutical industry is determined to support the economy and production in the interests of the health of citizens.
He noted that Italy is preparing a plan for the future and the role of pharma in the country.
"It is necessary to address fundamental aspects of the pharmaceutical sector which for years have lacked adequate responses to allow the sustainability of the health system, of companies and above all to satisfy health needs," he was quoted as saying.

Online sales of medicines, medical devices surged 220% in four months

Online sales of medicines and medical devices rocketed 220% in the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to Friday's La Repubblica.
It was one of the effects of Italians staying at home during lockdown, even though pharmacies remained open throughout the emergency period, the paper said. A part of the increase was accounted for by sales of face masks which were in short supply through traditional channels.
A survey commissioned by e-commerce firm Farmakom showed that, after face masks, the most sold products in the first half of the year were antihistamines, products to control bacterial flora, three types of constipation therapy, chewing gum to stop smoking and a treatment for colds.

Health ministry sets up group to manage patients during Covid-19

The health ministry has set up a specialist group to manage all aspects of care for oncology, haematology and cardiology patients during the Covid-19 crisis, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.
The initiative was proposed by, Fondazione Insieme contro il Cancro, a non-profit foundation which provides a range of support for oncology patients.
Medical oncology association AIOM, the Italian haematology society, SIE and the Italian cardiology society, SIC, are the specialist bodies on the committee providing technical support, the paper said.
The aim is to manage patient care during the next phase of Covid-19. Oncology patients will be one of the most important priorities. There are about 3.5 million people living with a cancer diagnosis in Italy, 1.2 million of whom are in treatment.
The group of specialists has drafted guidelines so that all services can be restarted. One of the most important aspects will be to provide for three-month prescriptions for patients so that the number going to hospital is reduced. Where possible, oral therapies and simpler treatments will be given.
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