There are many ways in which pharmaceutical companies can make a contribution to society beyond developing and manufacturing medicines. GlaxoSmithKline, based in the UK, has always been keen to position itself as a supporter of the British economy so it’s no surprise to see the pharma giant being patriotic once again as it touts its involvement in the Olympic Games, which will start in London in just under two-weeks time. Read more »
Archive for the 'Europe News' Category
Germany used to be a golden market for the pharma industry in Europe because the country allowed global pharmaceutical companies to set their own prices for new medicines. However, all good things must come to an end…
In Germany, healthcare reform (known as AMNOG – Arzneimittelmarkt-Neuordnungsgesetz) that came into effect in January 2011 introduced stringent new pricing measures that linked the price of a medicine to its perceived therapeutic benefit. Eighteen months from the reform and the full effects have been realised. Although successful in cutting costs (a primary goal of the legislation), the change has resulted in a number of global companies delaying or refusing to market their drugs in Germany. It’s a testament to the fact that Germany has historically been one of the first markets in Europe to receive innovative new drugs. Read more »
Efficient energy consumption has taken to the friendly skies with a little help from the sun—and pharma. The Solar Impulse, a Swiss solar-powered airplane, is attempting to make its longest flight—from Switzerland to Morocco with a layover in Spain—in a 48-hour intercontinental test flight piloted by project originators Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.
Bayer MaterialScience became an official partner of the project in 2010, according to a May 24, 2012, press release. Since then, more than two dozen scientists at the company’s laboratories in Leverkusen, Dormagen, and Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany, have been tasked with brainstorming ideas for lightweight construction and energy efficiency.
A bill has recently been in discussion in the US that contains measures to strengthen the ways in which drug shortages are dealt with. The US FDA is also taking action by asking companies to alert them as to possible drug shortages so that it can prepare back ups. But what about other parts of the world?
Drug shortages are not unique to the US. The UK is also currently struggling with severe shortages of prescription medicines. In the US, many shortages have been attributed to plant closures or manufacturing problems, but in the UK the shortages are being caused for a different reason: parallel trade.
For some time, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has been working on developing a European verification system to help combat falsified medicines. The system, the European Medicines Verification System (EMVS), now seems close to implementation as EFPIA has launched a tendering process to select potential vendors for the technology. Read more »
The 2009 swine flu pandemic (and panic) has been forgotten by most, but regulators, global health organisations and pharmaceutical companies are continuing post-pandemic activities, which include keeping an eye on new cases of the illness and monitoring the safety of pandemic vaccines.
This week, swine flu returned to headlines after two studies published in the Public Library of Science appeared to confirm a link between GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine and cases of narcolepsy in children in Finland. Between 2002 and 2009, instances of narcolepsy were around 0.31 per 100,000 people. In 2010, this jumped to 5.3 cases per 100,000, which equates to a 17-fold increase. Read more »
Much negative criticism has been directed at the pharmaceutical industry’s perceived lack of innovation in recent years, but one area that has received a lot of attention is neglected diseases. One of the latest developments that I’ve read about is an EU-funded project led by GlaxoSmithKline to develop new treatments for multiple drug resistant tuberculosis (TB). Read more »
The end of the year is just around the corner so I thought I’d spend some time today looking at how marketing authorisation applications are progressing at the European Medicines Agency. The past few years have witnessed some dreary numbers in both Europe and the US when it comes to new products, but the figures for 2011 could be early indicators for a 2012 upturn. Read more »
The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on Oct. 18, 2011 that “A process which involves removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst stage, entailing the destruction of that embryo, cannot be patented.” The ruling was not unexpected, following as it did a preliminary ruling in March 2011 by the Court that prohibited patents on embryonic stem cells, declaring such patents to be “contrary to ethics and public policy.” Read more »
Earlier this week, the European Commission (EC) at last clarified what information pharma companies are allowed to disseminate to the European public about prescription-only medicines. Although direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of such medicines is part of everyday life in the US, it is banned in Europe. Historically, there has been no way for companies to convey the benefits of their products, and in recent years this has become problematic as patients take an increased interest in their own health and treatment programmes
The move by the EC this week will somewhat relax the stringent control, but it’s important to differentiate between providing information and full-blown DTCA. For a start, television, radio and general print media will not be allowed and the information will be factual rather than promotional. Read more »