Posts Tagged “HIV”

South Africa: Report highlights SA’s public healthcare lottery

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South Africa: Report highlights SA’s public healthcare lottery

The huge disparities in the healthcare services available to people living in different parts of the country were laid bare in the latest District Health Barometer, released on Thursday.

The District Health Barometer, published by the Health Systems Trust, is an annual publication that is now in its 13th edition. It is used by the government, academics and policy makers to track trends in the country’s public health system.

It showed barely half (55.7%) the babies living in Sarah Baartman district in the Eastern Cape were fully immunised, compared to almost all (97.7%) living in KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini district in 2017-2018.

The gap looms large even within provinces: women in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo district were 10 times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than those in Joe Gqabi district: the institutional maternal mortality rate was 198.7 per 100,000 live births in OR Tambo and 20.3 per 100,000 live births in Joe Gqabi. The institutional maternal mortality rate covers women who die during pregnancy, childbirth or within 42 days of delivery.

The barometer showed district health service spending on HIV/AIDS programmes had steadily increased as a proportion of the total, from just 7.3% in 2004-2005 to just over…

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USA: Proposed Medicare reforms spark comments about drugs

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USA: Proposed Medicare reforms spark comments about drugs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a reform titled “Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses.” Many are arguing for and against the reforms, which some mentioning how HIV care would be threatened.

PhRMA have commented that ‘overall, the changes to the six protected classes should not be finalised: PhRMA strongly opposes proposed changes to the six protected classes policy.  The protected class policy affords access to vital and life-saving medicines for patients with serious and debilitating conditions. The administration is proposing to weaken the current six protected class policy in several ways, notably by allowing health plans to force patients who are stable on a medicine to go through prior authorisation or step therapy. We have several concerns with these proposed changes. The proposed changes could have serious health consequences for patients and are unnecessary given that plans already have tools to manage utilisation in these classes and significant savings from the proposed changes are unlikely. We also have legal concerns with the proposed changes, which are inconsistent with Part D’s non-discrimination protections.’

The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy has also…

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Both parties want lower drug prices but gridlock prevents reform

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Both parties want lower drug prices but gridlock prevents reform

I went to Walgreens recently to pick up my three-month supply of a prescription I have been using for years. Ho hum. Until I saw what it was going to cost.

All of a sudden the price had gone up by more than 20 percent. I paid it, of course, grumbling. But I decided to do some research into what’s going on with America’s prescription drug prices.

Bloomberg News looked into drug prices last year and found that “255 brand name drugs had increases between Feb.1 and July 13 … the most common increase was for 9 to 10 percent.”

It also tracked the prices for 40 commonly used drugs in six categories — diabetes, cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, asthma and chronic pulmonary disease, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis — over a three-year period from June 2015 to June 2018. During this period the consumer price index went up by 5.6 percent.

“For all six categories of drugs,” Bloomberg found, “list prices rose far faster than inflation.”

They report:

“Prices for 10 commonly used diabetes drugs rose 25.6 percent, on average, while average prices for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune treatments rose 40.1 percent. The latter category…

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Dolutegravir: new safety concerns emerge.

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Dolutegravir: new safety concerns emerge.

New safety concerns have emerged about the HIV drug dolutegravir, which the government plans to roll out in April.

In 2018 drug regulators warned of potential harm to babies born to women who took dolutegravir during early pregnancy, after preliminary findings from a small study in Botswana showed an increased risk of neural tube defect.

Now there is growing evidence that dolutegravir and other integrase inhibitors are associated with significant weight gain, particularly among black women, according to research published the Journal of Virus Eradication in January.

The findings have implications for both individuals and public health, given SA’s obesity epidemic: more than two thirds of women, and almost a third of men are overweight or obese, according to the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey.

Dolutegravir is to replace efavirenz in a generic three-drug cocktail for eligible patients starting treatment.It is an important part of the government’s plans to expand treatment to more people, as it has fewer side effects than efavirenz and is less likely to lead to drug resistance. It is expected to save the government about $900m  over the next five years. SA has the world’s worst HIV epidemic, with about 7.2-million people living with the disease…

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Egypt to establish pharmaceutical plant in Chad

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Egypt to establish pharmaceutical plant in Chad

Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed announced the establishment of a pharmaceutical plant affiliated to the Holding Company for Pharmaceuticals in Chad.

“We already have drug factories in Africa in Khartoum and Addis Ababa. Through our meetings and cooperation with African health ministers, we are helping to build these factories. A factory affiliated to the Holding Company for Pharmaceuticals is being set up in Chad,” Zayed said at the meeting of the African Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday to discuss the ministry’s plan in Africa.

She explained that her meetings with the African ministers of health agreed to work on standardizing the registration of Egyptian medicine in the countries of the Nile Basin and East Africa due to cheap prices and effectiveness. Sudan and Ethiopia agreed in principle, she added.

The standardization of registration means making Egyptian medicine in those countries available and saving the time (two years) and financial costs of the registration of medicine in those countries, Zayed said.

Zayed also revealed an Egyptian initiative to treat African nationals for the hepatitis C virus, starting with the Nile Basin countries where patients are estimated at 3.7 million people, equal to 30 percent of the number… » Continue Reading.

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GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Merck and Novartis are top 5 investors in global health products, says report

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GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Merck and Novartis are top 5 investors in global health products, says report

More drug companies are being urged to prioritise treatments for people in the developing world after a new report has shown that just a handful of the world’s major firms are making the majority of global health products.

A review of pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access to medicines among people in low and middle income countries has found that just five firms  – GSK, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Sanofi, Merck and Novartis – are conducting two thirds of the research and development into these diseases.

UK pharmaceutical giant GSK has by far the most products in the pipeline, with 58, followed by J&J with 41 and Sanofi with 33. But the report warned that if any of them withdrew from the market the world’s most vulnerable communities could be left without access to vital drugs.

Danny Edwards, research lead at the Access to Medicine Foundation, said: “It’s great that companies are focusing their efforts on global health but there’s a danger that if any of them decided to pull away from this it would have a big impact. We would like to see more companies come to the table.”

Katy Athersuch, policy adviser for the charity Médecins Sans Frontières’ access campaign, said…

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Pharma companies could do more to improve access to medicines, says report

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Pharma companies could do more to improve access to medicines, says report

A ranking of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies finds that progress in expanding access to medicines in poorer countries is concentrated among five pharmaceutical companies and on five diseases. Novartis and Roche both moved up in the ranking to 2nd and 10th, respectively.

The 2018 Access to Medicine Index external link, published on Tuesday, is an independent ranking of 20 of the leading pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to improve access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries.

British pharmaceutical company GSK retained its position at the top of the index for the sixth year in a row followed by Basel-based Novartis, which jumped one spot ahead of Johnson & Johnson and Merck KGaA. The other Swiss company in the ranking, Roche, jumped nine spots into the top ten.

The index, which is supported by the UK and Dutch governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, measures companies in seven areas of corporate behaviour including research and development (R&D), pricing, and product donations.

Swiss highs and lows

Novartis was the top scorer in the category of general management, which includes aspects such as companies’ level of commitment and transparency. The index praised the company’s commitment to integrate access strategies…

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Irish patients are not getting access to innovative medicines as quickly as their peers in other EU countries.

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Irish patients are not getting access to innovative medicines as quickly as their peers in other EU countries.

Much goes into making a medicine. The process requires innovation, creativity, perseverance, and huge investment.

There will be obstacles, expected and unforeseen, and lots of failures. It can take as much as 13 years, and cost about €2bn, to bring a new medicine to the market.

In the end, though, the risk will be worth it. Because we have the potential to help people live longer, healthier lives, and to discover tomorrow’s cures.

The pharmaceutical industry will look to make a commercial return on its investment. But affordability and innovation are not mutually exclusive.

A progressive approach to developing new medicines, and making them available to patients, recognises the risk and reward equation, and tries to balance it.

Pharmaceutical innovators have a major stake in Ireland’s future. Life expectancy here is rising faster than the European Union average. By 2030, one in six people will be over 65 and there will be twice as many people aged 85 and over.

By 2040, an extra million people will live here. As the population grows, changes, and ages, the role of innovation in meeting medical need becomes more vital.

Irish patients are not getting access to innovative medicines as quickly as their…

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Johnson and Johnson asked to cut down price of new TB drug

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Johnson and Johnson asked to cut down price of new TB drug

Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) has called upon US drug maker c (J&J) to cut down the price of its new tuberculosis drug Bedaquiline, as the high price of the drug is depriving patients of best possible treatment, the humanitarian group said on Tuesday.

MSF said that its research shows that the Drug Resistant TB treatment regimes, containing the two new drugs of Bedaquiline and Delamanid represent a significant price increase over older, no-longer-recommended treatment regimens.

The estimated price of longer individualized treatment regimens could now reach more than US$2,000 for people who need at least 18 months of bedaquiline, a 50% price increase over previous standard treatment, MSF said- while those who need both bedaquiline and delamanid for as long as 20 months, the price increase could reach 500%, with a treatment regimen priced at around $9,000.

Though J&J has announced a price reduction for bedaquiline in some countries, where the company has offered to sell the drug at $400 for six months of treatment. But the aid organization said this price is still too high.

“Our analysis clearly shows that the high price of the two newer TB drugs makes today’s best-possible treatment much more expensive than previous treatment…

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“South Africa’s health system is in crisis”, says Deputy President

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“South Africa’s health system is in crisis”, says Deputy President

South Africa health system is in crisis and needs urgent attention to be put to right, Deputy President David Mabuza said.

Addressing delegates at a two-day presidential health summit in Boksburg, he said both the public and private sectors faced challenges that compromised patient care.

“We need a systemic change that will outlive us and become a gift to the new generation,” he said.

The summit highlights the importance President Cyril Ramaphosa is attaching to healthcare, and follows a similar meeting he convened on National Health Insurance (NHI) in August. His economic stimulus package, announced in September, contained a commitment to reprioritise government spending that included filling 2,200 critical health posts and the purchase of essential items such as linen and beds. He also announced a R400bn infrastructure fund, which is expected to include an allocation for health.

The summit has attracted 800 senior representatives from business, civil society, labour and academia, and includes top executives from the private hospital groups, pharmaceutical companies and the medical schemes industry.

Mabuza said the president had assumed stewardship of the NHI process and improving the health system “to ensure the country can achieve affordable quality healthcare within a reasonable time”.

Sketching the challenges…

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