7 days in healthcare (March 25th-31st, 2024)



From the point of view of Biomedicine, it should be noted that possibly the next “boom” will be everything related to anti-aging therapies, an aspect to which the Financial Times dedicates an article, following the appearance of three books on the subject. . The Economist dedicates a lot of space in its latest issue to the issue of AI in healthcare, no less than an editorial and four articles. The conclusion is that AI will have a great impact on healthcare. However, as Eric Topol, the well-known cardiologist and health publicist, comments in another article in the Financial Times, “AI is very transformational, but these things always take longer than you initially think.” Nature magazine analyzes the reasons for optimism about cancer vaccines. Vaccines to treat, not to prevent.

Regarding Global Health, the WHO focuses on the millions of undiagnosed cases of tuberculosis, which compromise efforts to combat this disease. The WHO estimates that in 2023 there will be three million new cases not known to health services. Problems continue between developed and developing countries, which do not agree on the Treaty on the prevention of pandemics, proposed by the WHO as a goal for 2024.

In terms of International Health Policy, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, two prestigious British think tanks on health, analyze satisfaction with the NHS, which is the lowest in the entire history of this institution. Only 24% of citizens in England, Scotland and Wales are happy with the service, with waiting lists being the most common complaint. In France, the Sorbonne Faculty of Medicine and a former health minister propose “strong measures” to, they say, prevent the degradation of the health system in France. Of the three measures they propose, one of them has to do with the preservation of “medical time” (through non-medical assistants in consultation); and the other with the promotion of advanced practice nursing.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), based on Primary Care analysis that is on the Ministry’s website, it is observed that people treated in primary health centers who earn less than 18,000 euros per year are medicalized more frequently, have prescribed more chronic drugs and consume more pills for pain, anxiety or depression. The Ministry of Health is studying allowing price competition between medicines so that generics can gain market share. This would affect generics and biosimilars, which would be cheaper than brand-name ones and it would be the patient who, if they wanted, would assume the difference. The situation in Spain of the same price for generics as for branded ones is unique in Europe. The objective is to stimulate the development of the generic and biosimilar industry and, ultimately, reduce the pharmaceutical bill for these medicines, in order to allow the incorporation of innovations. If it is carried out, it will be great news. Of note is the agreement signed between the Colleges of Pharmacists of the Basque Country and the Department of Health of that community, with the idea of facilitating the integration of community pharmacies as health agents in the health system. More than interesting is the article published in Human Resources for Health, and whose first signatory is Sara Calderón-Larrañaga, and which analyzes the reasons why primary doctors leave Spain. The work consisted of a survey, focus groups and interviews with 158 primary doctors who had left Spain. The causes of their departure were, in order of importance: insufficient salary, temporary employment, excessive workload, poor governance of primary care, lack of flexibility in the workplace and personal circumstances. There are the keys to a reform of Primary Care.

As for Companies, internationally, a cancer drug (Keytruda, from Merck-MSD), the best-selling drug in the world. In Spain, the historic achievements of Rovi, with a business approach that goes beyond covid. We must also highlight Vithas’ hospital commitment in Barcelona, where construction is underway.


Global Health

International health policy

National health policy


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