Press review


Spain's PharmaMar to test Aplidin in asymptomatic Covid-19 patients

MADRID, 11 Sep (APM) - PharmaMar has announced it will soon start a clinical trial of its cancer drug Aplidin (plitidepsin) in asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, daily newspaper El Español reported on Wednesday.
The trial will determine whether the drug leads to the elimination of the virus from the organism of asymptomatic patients, PharmaMar's president José María Fernández Sousa-Faro said at a symposium organised by the newspaper on Tuesday.
Fernández said that the goal is preventing organ damage linked to the infection in the long term. If the results are positive, the drug could also contribute to reducing the transmission rate, he added.
Results of Phase I/II trials with Aplidin to block the action of the virus will be disclosed in October, he noted. He repeated that the drug's antiviral activity is 2,400-2,800 times higher than that of Gilead's remdesivir.
He said that a new company division devoted to virology has been created, El Español reported.

Diabetes drug sales could fall as people lose weight

The UK's national healthcare system will provide diabetic patients with free weight loss products to improve their health and reduce their need for medication, causing a fall in sales of diabetes drugs, Spain's financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on Wednesday.
If the strategy to help diabetic patients lose weight is successful, pharmaceutical companies could face leaner days as these people would need fewer drugs to control their condition, the financial said.
Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease. However, many physicians are realising that people with type 2 diabetes, the most numerous, can lead healthier lives if they lose weight.
The so called 'total diet replacement', based on low-calorie soups and shakes that the government will offer for free, has offered good results in a study where almost half of the patients achieved glucose control. The severity of diabetes symptoms was also decreased with a low carbohydrate diet, according to another study.
Sales of diabetes drugs reached $48 billion in 2018 and are expected to surpass $78 billion by 2026, with a likely growth in patient numbers. "This suggests that demand of drugs made by Novo Nordisk, Sanofi or Eli Lilly isn't going away, because despite success in clinical trials, the obstacles to curing diabetes are high," the financial said.
Some diabetes drugs have benefits beyond the condition itself, such as AstraZeneca's Farxiga (dapagliflozin), with benefits for kidney disease. Novo Nordisk is developing products to fight obesity, Cinco Días added.

Regulator calls for 'close attention' to Covid-19 cases in pharma, distribution

Spanish regulator AEMPS has called for close monitoring of potential Covid-19 cases and contacts with infected people in pharmaceutical companies and drug distribution firms, which the agency regards as key industries to fight the pandemic, medical journals Diario Médico and Acta Sanitaria reports on Friday.
The services these industries provide are considered essential in most cases, because they guarantee the supply of medicines, healthcare and sanitising products, among others which are essential, Diario Médico reports.
In a document posted on AEMPS website on Thursday, the agency makes a number of recommendations to enforce safety in the workplace to be observed by these firms, the journal adds.

AstraZeneca's vaccine trial paused

AstraZeneca has paused clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate after an "unexplained illness" was found in a participant, it was widely reported on Wednesday. (APMHE 68824)
Daily newspapers ABC, El Mundo, El País, La Vanguardia, La Razón, El Español, financial newspapers Cinco Días, El Economista, Expansión, a number of medical journals and regional newspapers carried the story on Wednesday.
Over the following days, stories about the reasons to halt clinical trials were also published.
ABC ran a story about transverse myelitis. La Vanguardia carried the headline: 'The halt in the University of Oxford vaccine was to be expected (and good news, too)'. According to the newspaper, this means that quality control mechanisms are working.
On Saturday, financial newspaper Expansión reported that rival companies currently developing Covid-19 vaccines were working on a joint pledge to submit their products only if they prove to be safe and efficient in Phase III trials. (APMHE 68815)

Calls on Russian researchers to answer colleagues' questions

The Lancet magazine has called on Sputnik V vaccine candidate developers to answer Western colleagues' questions, daily newspaper ABC reports on Friday.
In an open letter to the editor of the medical journal, 27 scientists said the data published were incomplete and had shown some unlikely patterns.

Three pharma companies fined by French authorities

French authorities are fining Novartis, Roche and Genentech over anti-competitive practices, financial newspapers El Economista and Expansión reported on Wednesday. (APMHE 68838)
According to the authorities, they abused their dominant position in the market to boost sales of their ophthalmology treatment Lucentis for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by discrediting Roche's Avastin, a competitor which costs 30 times less, the financial noted.



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