7 days in healthcare (April 17th-23rd, 2023)



From the point of view of Biomedicine, this week, exceptionally, two important advances in Spain are mentioned. On the one hand, the important investigations of the team led by Dr. Obeso, at HM Hospitales, on how to “open” the blood-brain barrier, that barrier that, among other things, prevented the arrival of drugs to the brain. It seems that in this way possibilities could be opened for the treatment of Parkinson’s. On the other hand, at the Vall d’Hebrón Hospital in Barcelona, the first robotic lung transplant was approached through a small incision.

As far as Global Health is concerned, there is a great alarm, highlighted by UNICEF and The Lancet magazine, about the drop in immunizations in children after the covid. Although the covid highlighted the efficacy of the vaccines, it brought the side effect of this drop in immunizations globally. In Uganda, the new anti-homosexuality law takes repression against this sexual option to an extreme, endangering anti-HIV campaigns in that country. The G7, to be held in Japan in May, emphasizes various health issues, including the importance of universal health coverage and the need for resilient health systems.

Regarding International Health Policy, the WHO warns of the non-solution of the covid problem, since in the last 28 days there were 23,000 deaths and 3 million new cases globally, even with reduced test figures. High mortality in the USA, with around 245 deaths per day. In the United States, the government is preparing to finalize the guidelines for negotiating the price of drugs in Medicare in July, something totally new in that country and that is shocking the pharmaceutical industry. The American Supreme Court rectifies its previous decisions and allows the abortion pill mifepristone to continue to be used, amid abundant criticism of the Court, for having questioned something that the FDA had already authorized more than 20 years ago. According to The Economist, the annulment of the Roe v Wade ruling caused the number of abortions in the USA to drop by 6%. In the United Kingdom, the consequences in the NHS of the multiple and continuous strikes and conflicts of health personnel continue. The German government is clashing with other European governments in its efforts to reduce the timeframe for generics to appear, calling into question the pharmaceutical investment model, according to some.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the incidence of covid continues to rise, amid controversies about the advisability or not of suppressing masks where they are still mandatory (health centers, social health centers and pharmacies). Conflicts with health personnel continue in several autonomous communities. In public healthcare, quite important allocation of resources by the Ministry to primary care and mental health. In private health, in the first quarter of the year there was a growth of 7.5% in the policies of private health insurers. “Voting with your feet” is called that figure. The IDIS Foundation focuses, through an interesting publication, on an important problem: the mental health situation in our country. Since we have few problems, Catalonia insists on an artificial conflict: the use of Catalan in the healthcare system in that autonomous community. Both in Aragon and in Castilla-La Mancha, two initiatives of dubious utility and even suspected of electoralism are launched. In Aragon, a national debate on health is proposed through a very typical document of those that come out in the autonomous communities that could be summarized as “More money for health without reforms.” As for Castilla-La Mancha, a law on waiting lists is promoted, when the terminal state of the legislature suggests that it will not be approved.

In the field of Companies, internationally, Nestlé is accused of manufacturing unhealthy products, due to their high load of fat, sugar and salt. Merck makes a major investment buying Prometheus Biosciences for $11 billion. At the national level, Moderna opens a laboratory in Madrid.


Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy