Posts

7 days in healthcare (December 11th-17th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, CRISPR therapy, which begins with sickle cell anemia, is great hope. In the end, the FDA approves two gene therapies for this disease, which affects 7.7 million people globally and is a chronic, debilitating disease that causes pain and reduces the quality and expectancy of life. New approved therapies include extraction, genetic modification and reinfusion into patients of their own hematopoietic stem cells. The problem is that these patients live mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and India, which are far from having the infrastructure to apply this therapy. The price of these therapies is about 2 million euros per patient, which again raises the problem of the problems of universalization of precision medicine. Ozempic, Alzheimer’s drugs and malaria vaccines among the scientific milestones of 2023 for Science magazine. For its part, Nature magazine chooses a non-human among its scientists of the year: ChatGPT.

As far as Global Health is concerned, in the end, an international agreement is reached on the end of fossil fuels. COP28 was the first global conference on the subject after the Paris agreement in 2015 (COP21) in which a global limit to temperature growth was established at 1.5º. On December 13, 2023, the agreement on net zero emissions by 2050 will be reached. Fossil fuels generate a lot of wealth, but they are also the bulk of CO2 emissions. The problem is that there is no system that forces governments to meet that objective. A global treaty on plastics is proposed by the United Nations General Assembly (March, 2022). Plastic pollution is a global threat, since plastic is persistent and less than 10% is recycled, almost 6 billion tons now pollute the planet. This contains more than 10,500 chemicals, which includes carcinogens, neurotoxicants, etc.

Regarding International Health Policy, design by the European Union of a Plan to avoid shortages of more than 260 critical medicines, which includes storage and incentives for production

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), one in ten Spaniards on the waiting list, record numbers in health. At this moment there are 820,000 people to undergo surgery, a figure never reached. The Ministry of Health wants to raise this problem with the communities at the in-person meeting of the Interterritorial Council in Asturias on December 21. In theory there are two solutions: either self-concertation (the disdainfully called “peonadas”) or agreements with the private sector. In both cases money is needed. It is also necessary to review the indications, circuits and priorities. The CIS Barometer is released (3rd wave, October 2023). 57.5% value positively the functioning of the National Health System, which means a great setback with respect to previous editions. In an article in El País whose first signatory is Félix Lobo, it is proposed to strengthen the Ministry of Health. In 45 years there have been 28 ministers. And organizations with a clear health component have been separated from the Ministry, such as the Carlos III Health Institute, the Government Delegation for the National Drug Plan and the Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AESAN). Although this reinforcement is necessary, it must surely be complemented with what we could call “cohesion bodies”, among which could be HISPANICE, also proposed by FUNCAS.

In the field of Companies, on an international level, Cigna renounces creating a health insurance giant in the USA, by becoming part of Humana. AstraZeneca enters the world of vaccines. Regarding national news, Quirón advances in the construction of its hospital in Gijón (Asturias) and receives from the Ministry of Defense the management of the hospital on Isaac Peral Street (former Generalísimo Franco), closed for more than 30 years. Good results from Miranza and Ribera, the latter contemplating three new projects.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International health policy

National health policy

  • Waiting lists
    • One in ten Spaniards on the waiting list, record figures in healthcare. At this moment there are 820,000 people to undergo surgery, a figure never reached. The Ministry of Health wants to raise this problem with the communities at the in-person meeting of the Interterritorial Council in Asturias on December 21. In theory there are two solutions: either self-concertion (the so-called “peonadas”) or conciliation with the private sector. In both cases money is needed. It is also necessary to review the indications, circuits and priorities (https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/diez-espanoles-lista-espera-cifras-record-sanidad-quiere-atajar_1_10708957.html)
  • It is proposed to strengthen the Ministry of Health
    • In an article in El País whose first signatory is Félix Lobo, it is proposed to strengthen the Ministry of Health. In 45 years there have been 28 ministers. And organizations with a clear health component have been separated from the Ministry, such as the Carlos III Health Institute, the Government Delegation for the National Drug Plan and the Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AESAN) (https://elpais.com/society/2023-12-11/potenciar-el-ministerio-de-sanidad.html)

Companies

 

7 days in healthcare (October 30th-November 5th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, the FDA opens the door to the first treatment with CRIPSR gene editing, applied in this case to sickle cell anemia. The “liquid biopsy” seems to be able to detect cancer recurrence before any radiological signs. A change is proposed in the regulation of embryo research. The laws and conventions in force do not allow embryos to be investigated in the laboratory beyond day 14. There is a gap until day 28, when embryos from abortions can already be investigated. This seems to prevent us from knowing many elements of organ development and that is what we are trying to modify. Although it is often assumed that dementia is increasing as the population ages, there appears to already be some evidence that the incidence of dementia is decreasing quite significantly.

As far as Global Health is concerned, the director general of the WHO is alarmed by the indescribable situation in Gaza. Nigeria is preparing to vaccinate 8 million girls with the papillomatosis vaccine, related to cervical cancer.

Regarding International Health Policy, in the United States, despite the prohibition of abortion in some states as a consequence of the Dobbs ruling of the Supreme Court, the abortion rate has not decreased a year after this ruling. The Economist considers how it is possible that doctors in the United States earn so much ($350,000/year on average), coming to the conclusion that it is due to an artificial shortage of doctors, due to the few places in Medical Schools, despite that there is no shortage of candidates. In the United Kingdom, the investigation into covid seems to show the disaster in management during the Boris Johnson period. Bad business, although the case of Spain is worse, where, despite promises, no report on the management of the pandemic has been made public. Health changes are on the horizon in Poland, following the arrival of the new government. Kenya, with 53 million inhabitants, joins the movement of so many other countries to move towards universal health coverage.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the XENOMA project in Galicia is very important, which aims to analyze the DNA of 400,000 Galicians. One of the precedents is the project to analyze the genome of 100,000 Britons, promoted during the David Cameron period and managed by Genomics England. Surely a project of this style should have been promoted at the national level, but it is good that, in the absence of the above, it should be promoted by an autonomous community. Doubts among experts about one of the measures of the PSOE-Sumar agreement on a law to end waiting lists. Without funding, better accounting and prioritization, organizational measures, new incentives and public/private collaboration, no law is capable of solving this problem. After all, a Royal Decree that establishes maximum times for certain procedures has already been in force since 2011, but it is not being complied with. Virtually all autonomous communities are approving increased health budgets for 2024, rising especially in Primary Care. Just because the budgets grow compared to the previous year does not mean that they are higher than the real spending in 2023, which is happening in Madrid, for example. The PSOE-ERC agreement contemplates the transfer of at least 150 million euros/year to Catalonia, for scientific and technical research.

In the field of Companies, on an international level, Google intends to grow in healthcare, based above all on artificial intelligence tools. Regarding the covid vaccine, GSK raises profit forecasts, while Moderna and Pfizer contemplate setbacks. At the national level, Fresenius sells its Quirón business in Peru. The Sant Joan de Deu Hospital in Barcelona creates an artificial intelligence laboratory with Microsoft.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International health policy

National health policy

Companies

 

 

 

 

7 days in healthcare (October 9th-15th, 2023)

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, after years of research, scientists have published an atlas of the brain, the most unknown organ and whose knowledge will allow great advances in biomedicine. This week 21 articles have appeared about the brain and its cells. The work is done under the BRAIN Initiative Census Network project. The objectives of this effort were three: first, to understand the cellular components of the brain; second, to know which cells are affected in neurological and psychiatric diseases; and, third, what makes the brain of Homo sapiens different from that of other animals. The brain is the most complex object in the universe and contains around 3,000 types of cells. Until recently it was believed that the human body, including the brain, had only 300 types of cells. Artificial intelligence, new therapeutic vaccines, xenotransplantations and quantum computing, in the focus of monitoring progress in medical sciences.

Regarding Global Health, The Lancet asks in several articles the impact on health of a world with a shortage of work, since until now a job in good conditions was considered important for health. The malaria community welcomes the WHO approval of the new vaccine. Malaria kills half a million children a year, mainly under five years old. This decision is expected to improve access to doses of the vaccine, especially in Africa. 28 African countries are going to introduce this vaccine as part of their immunization program.

Regarding International Health Policy, in the United States pharmaceutical companies agree to negotiate the price of medicines with Medicare, despite the fact that some maintain lawsuits against the American government. In the European Union, the shortage of amoxicillin, a widely used antibiotic, persists. There is also in the EU an increase in deaths due to mental disorders.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the government puts out to public consultation the draft Royal Decree for the evaluation of health technologies which, among other things, rethinks the economic evaluation of medicines, incorporating the participation of professionals and patients and attempting predictability and transparency in decision-making times.

In the field of Companies, at the international level, it is worth highlighting that the global cannabis market will reach 100 billion in 2030. At the national level, Sanitas is launching an educational experience, which is an example of the importance they give healthcare companies to the issue of training, aware that attracting and retaining talent will be the most important competitive advantage.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International health policy

National health policy

Companies

 

 

7 days in healthcare (September 4th-10th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, in an editorial article, the Financial Times comments on the promise of anti-obesity drugs. Despite the clear benefits of the new drugs, there are unresolved issues: first, the limited knowledge of long-term effects; second, the drug is initially expensive. Private patients in the UK are expected to pay £300 a month; and, third, medications should be a complement rather than a substitute for general lifestyle measures. The first human organ created in an animal opens the door to manufacturing spare parts for people.

With regard to Global Health, the new director of Africa CDC publishes in Nature magazine the new policy guidelines of this body, aimed at addressing public health problems in Africa.

Regarding International Health Policy, it is confirmed that the latest versions of the vaccines are prepared for the new variants. Profound administrative reform of healthcare in Portugal, driven by the socialist government and, specifically, by the SNS administrator appointed about a year ago, Fernando Araujo. 31 management units (ULS, local health units) are created, which will be public business entities, with a board of directors, and a financing model in which money follows the patient. All hospitals will be assigned to one of these units. Strong criticism for the government’s secrecy in this reform, which has been carried out without prior consultation. The doctors’ order says that the reform will be a “complete disaster.” Despite what has been said, the reform has nothing to do with an implementation of the Spanish Alzira model in Portugal, but it is a public reform. Although some of the measures (business configuration of the management units, board of directors, new financing model in which money follows the patient) “sound good”, the truth is that a reform of this caliber carried out no longer without consensus political but without even public debate it is more than doubtful that it can be successful. He also questions the government’s idea of “getting out of the way” of healthcare by delegating changes to an “administrator.”

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), commitment of the Ministry of Health with the measures agreed with the pharmaceutical industry, with the participation even of President Sánchez, to ensure the investment of 8 billion euros. It seems that the conditions are to improve access to medicines; enhance R&D; increase industrial capacities and create supply chains for resilient drugs. Although it is logical and desirable for the government to be “business friendly” with companies in general and with pharmaceutical companies in particular, it is doubtful that such an explicit agreement is the best path for both parties. On the other hand, it must not be forgotten, in view of the government’s commitments, that we are in full discussion of European pharmaceutical policy. Certain relevant changes in the Community of Madrid: possibility of requesting any test from Primary Care and facility for non-EU doctors to work in Madrid. The Royal Decree approving the specialty of emergencies comes out in public hearing, something long awaited and promised, but no less controversial and debatable. The general director of Pharmacy, César Hernández, says that “we do not have a general problem of access to medicines”, which can also be controversial in certain environments.

In the field of Companies, at the international level, Novonordisk becomes the most valuable company in Europe according to market capitalization. Lilly tries to get ahead of Novordisk in the obesity market. Regarding national news, HM Hospitales expands its offer in Madrid with a new polyclinic in an area of intense growth such as Vadebebas.

Biomedicine

Global Health

  • New public health model in Africa. Article in Nature by Jean Kaseya, the new director of Africa CDC. 6 proposals: local manufacture of vaccines; improved tracking system; integrated health systems; laboratory network; emergency response design; robust national institutes of public health (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02749-5)
  • Cancers in young people (under 50) have risen by 80% in the last three decades, including breast, lung, stomach and colorectal cancers. (https://www.ft.com/content/b3140954-3cd0-4a3e-b554-92efa7ed7538). Original article in the BMJ: https://bmjoncology.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000049#

International Health Policy

  • Portugal
    • Deep administrative reform of healthcare, promoted by the socialist government. 31 management units (ULS, local health units) are created, which will be public business entities, with a board of directors, and a financing model in which money follows the patient. All hospitals will be assigned to one of these units. Strong criticism for the government’s secrecy in this reform, which has been carried out without prior consultation. The doctors’ order says that the reform will be a “complete disaster.” The reform is attributed to Fernando Araujo, the SNS administrator appointed by the government last year (https://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/gc23/comunicacao/noticia?i=nova-organizacao-dos-cuidados-de-saude-conheca-a-grande-reforma-do-sns-para-2024)

National health policy

Companies

 

 

 

7 days in healthcare (July 31st-August 6th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, it seems that for the first time, apart from the complicated bariatric surgery, medicine will have a treatment for obesity, this disease that affects more than 1 billion people worldwide. With GLP-1 it seems that we are entering the phase of effective drugs against obesity. Generative AI, which is capable of generating new algorithms, based on the patterns and structure of the data, is called to play an important role in health care. It seems that cancer is growing at younger ages. The WHO declares the polypill, developed by the CNIC and Ferrer, as an “essential medicine”.

With regard to Global Health, a call by the editors of the most important scientific journals in the world, through a common article, for health professionals to get involved in the fight against the risk of nuclear war, since it seems that we are in a situation of risk not seen since the Cold War. The WHO detects progress in tobacco control in many countries, through the WHO Framework Agreement for Tobacco Control, signed 20 years ago.

Regarding International Health Policy, in the United States a cyberattack forces the paralyzation of the activity of several hospitals. In the United Kingdom, new diagnostic centers are being created to increase the capacity to carry out tests and reduce the waiting list. Of the 13 centers announced, 8 will be privately financed and managed. The waiting list is a political priority for Prime Minister Sunak.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the incidence of covid has risen since July. It is extremely striking that a new registry multiplies by four the official number of maternal mortality in Spain. Maternal mortality is precisely one of the indicators most taken into account when establishing the health of a country. The Health Accounts System document has been published, which updates the data with those of 2021. Between 2017 and 2021 there has been a 25% increase in health spending, including public and private. The MUFACE system is doubly threatened, firstly because of its high losses and, secondly, because the SUMAR program, Sánchez’s possible partner in a new government, is sponsoring its disappearance. The agreement signed in Aragon for the constitution of the new PP-Vox government contemplates resorting to public/private collaboration to address the waiting list. It should be noted that the integration of the workforce of the former Health Agencies of Andalusia has been completed, which affects 3,500 workers, who may be integrated as permanent statutory employees. An important regression, which reinforces the most rigid aspects of the public health system, precisely what the public hospitals with the configuration of public companies, unfairly called by the PP in Andalusia as “chiringuitos”, had tried to overcome with remarkable success. A blunder, not to use euphemisms, both from the Andalusian government and from the party that supports it. Information from the old management teams ensures that the deterioration is already taking place. If, rightly, an audit is required to see the results of the reversals of the concessions in the Valencian Community, something similar will have to be done in due course with these Andalusian hospitals.

In the field of Companies, internationally, Amazon launches a new documentation service based on generative AI. The pharmaceutical companies that had made cash with the covid vaccine are deflating, something that was already discounted by the market. At the national level, a new incursion of Magnum Partners into health, by buying the nutraceutical company Martínez Nieto. Apax acquires 50% of Palex, a company that had become a target for many funds, and which will surely herald a consolidation of the medical technology distribution sector.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

Companies

7 days in healthcare (July 24th-30th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, the mRNA vaccine for cancer and regenerative medicine seem to be the great promises in medical advances.

As regards Global Health, The Lancet dedicates an editorial to the need for a broader vision of women’s health, beyond maternal health. The most prevalent disease problems in women are the same as in men, but need insight into specific, poorly understood risks.

As for International Health Policy, the battle continues in the United States for the application of the new pharmaceutical policy that allows Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs, something that until now had been banned. This negotiation will begin in 2024 and it is expected that on September 1, 2023 the medicines on which it will be negotiated will be known. In a movement that seems to be ahead of events, several pharmaceutical companies (Janssen, Merck, Astellas Pharma and BMS) file a lawsuit against the American government. Apart from other possible considerations, it seems difficult to maintain that the price of medicines is much higher in the United States than in other countries, and not only in developing countries, but also in Europe. In the United Kingdom, the British Medical Journal focuses on the financing of pharmaceutical and medical technology companies to British scientific societies. For this, more transparency is required.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the political changes derived from the regional elections establish a new configuration of the Interterritorial Council, which will be numerically dominated by the PP (which will count, including the Canary Islands Coalition) 12 seats in the Council, by 3 of the PSOE (Castilla-La Mancha, Navarra, Asturias), 1 from the PNV (Basque Country) and 1 from ERC (Catalonia). The Radar Healthcare organization publishes a new ranking of healthcare systems and awards Spain a very favorable position in terms of quality. In general, these types of rankings must be looked at with a magnifying glass and consider the type of indicators analyzed and another series of circumstances. A biased and unprofessional interpretation of the international rankings on the Spanish health system has meant, in practice, a brake on the reforms. If we are so well, why reform anything? It is known that Spain is one of the OECD countries that devotes less public funding to dental care. What we did not know and what is now clear is that it has even dropped very significantly in the last decade, going from 5,245 million euros in 2010 to 3,681 in 2020. It seems clear that Spain, which globally has organized vaccination against covid very well However, it has failed to develop a vaccine: the HIPRA vaccine was delayed much longer than expected and the announced intranasal vaccine no longer even has a release date. It is difficult to compete with vaccines that appear less than a year after the onset of the disease, as has happened in the case of covid, with long development of vaccines that take years.

In the field of Companies, internationally, the president of Novartis (company of European origin) says that the price reform in the United States of medicines represents a threat to Public Health. At the national level, it is worth noting that spending on biosimilars has exceeded 1 billion euros in 2022, due to the fact that the patent for several biological drug molecules has expired and biosimilars have appeared.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

  • Changes in the Interterritorial Council
    • Changes in the political sign of the autonomous communities completely modify the political weights in the Interterritorial Council. The popular ones will have 12 seats (with the Canary Islands Coalition), compared to 3 for the socialists (Castilla-La Mancha, Navarra and Asturias), 1 for the PNV (Basque Country) and 1 ERC (Catalonia) (https://gacetamedica.com/opinion/a-new-territorial-council-of-the-sns/)

Companies

7 days in healthcare (June 26th-July 2nd, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, clinical trials in humans begin with drugs developed by artificial intelligence, such as one for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Álvaro Pascual-Leone, a prestigious Spanish neuroscientist based in the United States, announces that in about ten years the brain will be able to be manipulated . Surely at that time the manipulation of the brain will be something as normal as today the replacement of the crystalline lens for the cataract. A new world is coming.

In Global Health, two charities (the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Foundation) set to fund a TB vaccine, which could save 8.5 million lives over the next quarter century. Gavi, the organization that provides vaccines to developing countries, approves a vaccine that protects against polio and five other diseases.

Regarding International Health Policy, the editor of the American Journal Medicine publishes in the last issue an article with the five great challenges of the American health system in the 21st century. However, from a reporting point of view, the most interesting news comes from the UK. The King’s Fund, a major British health think tank, publishes a comparative analysis of that country’s health system, which it analyzes together with 19 health systems, including the Spanish one. The analysis is very interesting, and the conclusion is that the NHS is efficient, but with big problems, not only with waiting lists, but also with results. It seems to imply a chronic underfunding of the NHS, when compared to systems in other countries. For its part, the NHS publishes for the first time a long-term plan on personnel. It basically deals with three things: training, retention and reform. The Guardian hails the report but says it is years overdue. For their part, both The Lancet and the British Medical Journal publish editorials on the 75th anniversary of the NHS, which coincides with its deep crisis. In both positions, political consensus is claimed as a key piece to fix the serious problems of the NHS. The WHO-Europe publishes a document with architectural recommendations on the hospitals of the future.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), there are several news of interest: the Audit Office of Catalonia publishes an interesting report on waiting lists. It seems that 9% of the cases on the waiting list in Catalonia were not counted on the Department of Health website, which leads some to use the word makeup. With regard to private healthcare, the IDIS is starting a very interesting project to share the patient’s clinical history among various provider and insurer entities, only an initial but very important step in what is to come. In the course of the pre-election debate, the President of the Popular Party announces a new General Health Law and a State Pact on Health if it reaches La Moncloa. Interesting announcements since, as The Lancet says for the NHS, only a certain political consensus and a new partnership, will be able to solve the problems of the health system in our country.

At the Corporate level, internationally, GSK completes the acquisition of Bellus Health. As far as national news is concerned, we must highlight Roche’s investment in Sant Cugat.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

  • USA
    • The challenges of the American healthcare system in the 21st century, according to the editor of the American Journal Medicine. Five big challenges: 1. Insufficient insurance coverage; 2. Low health education among the population; 3. Prevention and management of chronic diseases; 4. Great disparities in quality and results; and. 5. Trust in doctors? (https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(23)00035-9/fulltext)

National Health Policy

Companies

 

 

 

 

 

7 days in healthcare (January 30th- February 5th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, it is worth highlighting the review by The Lancet on lung cancer screening, which shows that the low-dose Scanner is effective in reducing mortality, although there are aspects of cost-effectiveness that they remain as a problem; neural implants in rats open the prospect of brain transplants; the gene therapy revolution, previously abandoned for safety reasons, is now in full swing; and mRNA vaccines, which may be useful for cancer, with fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy. The debate on check-ups is current, proving, once again, that annual check-ups do not reduce mortality, and despite everything, they are increasingly in demand.

As regards Global Health, The Lancet publishes an editorial in which it tries to change the narrative of little hope until now on cancer, due to the great disparities between countries in this fight.

Regarding International Health Policy, the New England Journal Medicine magazine publishes an article that affects the approach to the new reality of the covid, despite the new perception as a minor nuisance, it continues to represent between 300 and 500 deaths a day in USES. According to The Economist, we will most likely never know the number of deaths from covid in China, since the official mortality figures are not credible. The crisis in the British NHS continues, which seems to have been exacerbated by Brexit. Prime Minister Sunak’s proposals are for more ambulances, more hospital beds and home care. El Mercurio, the leading newspaper in Chile, editorializes on the critical situation of the ISAPRES (health insurers) in that country, which could fall into insolvency, which occurs due to the government’s indifference to this situation.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the incidence of covid continues to drop, although mortality remains high. World Cancer Day (February 4) coincides with the appearance of interesting publications on the cancer situation in our country, both by SEOM and the OECD. This latest report warns Spain about accessibility problems. The implementation of cancer screening has been uneven, which leads to inequities between autonomous communities. Cancer already represents 10% of public health spending. The celebration of Cancer Day also coincides with two new inaugurations of centers dedicated to this disease: the Cancer Center of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra and the experimental oncology center of the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid. The Ministry of Health of the Valencian Community announces the non-extension of the Denia concession contract. The Government publishes the Regulatory Plan for 2023, the law of the National Public Health Agency among the three health laws planned for 2023.

In the field of Companies, internationally, it should be noted that Pfizer is the first pharmaceutical company to reach revenues of more than $100,000 a year, thanks largely to the boost of the covid vaccine. As far as Spain is concerned, both Vitaldent and IMED are launching new centers. It seems that we are witnessing a fever of new private hospitals (Vithas in Barcelona; Sanitas in Madrid; Viamed in Tarragona; IMED in Alicante; Quirón in Asturias; and a long etcetera).

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

  • COVID
    • Addressing the new reality of covid. The covid passed, in the popular perception from a terrible threat to a minor inconvenience with a few days of symptoms. The reality, however, is not that and the covid still means between 300 and 500 deaths a day in the USA, equivalent to a mortality higher than that of a serious flu epidemic. To this must be added the effects of persistent covid (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2213920)
  • Changes in the United States
    • The implications of the results of the US elections in 2022 in health. Results of a survey conducted by Robert Blendon. It is striking that despite the fact that the United States is the country that spends the most on healthcare, the majority of the population thinks that little is spent. This opinion is very predominant among Democrats, but also in the majority among Republicans (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr2214949)
    • The response of the National Health Institutes (NHI) to covid (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adf5167)

National health policy

Companies

7 days in healthcare (December 5th-11th, 2022)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, an emotional farewell in the New York Times of the “young” (81 years old), Anthony Fauci, who had such a presence in our homes throughout the years of the pandemic. Without a doubt, his scientific contributions are notable, but it is not a minor merit that he has contradicted President Trump on several occasions in the honest exercise of his office, something unusual in our environment. A new type of biomarkers seems to open the doors to the possible diagnosis of different types of cancer at an early stage with a simple blood test.

With regard to Global Health, to highlight the serious problems of diabetes, which continues to grow; and suicide, which is increasing markedly among young Americans, although, as the WHO says, it is in Africa where there are the highest suicide rates in the world.

Regarding International Health Policy, China continues to distance itself from the covid-zero policy, although we will see the increasing consequences of covid mortality. Labor problems continue in the NHS, with several strikes announced. Macron promises free condoms for minors and young people up to 25 years of age. Several initiatives in the field of health of the European Union, which makes health more and more a European Union policy, without prejudice to the fact that the management of national health services is the responsibility of the Member States.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), in terms of covid, the incidence continues to decrease, what has not completely decreased is mortality (314 deaths in the last week). The strikes continue in the Primary Care of Madrid, without it seeming that the negotiations are progressing. The results of the Third Wave (2022) of the Health Barometer appear, which well deserves a careful analysis. Spain is the European Union country that performs the most instrumental deliveries, according to the “European Perinatal Health Report” (2015-2019).

In the field of Companies, at the international level, an important initiative by Pfizer to increase production in Europe, something necessary as seen during the pandemic and the difficulties for Europe to fully depend on production in Asia. Spin off of GE Healthcare from General Electric. Regarding national news, it should be noted that Blackrock increases its stake in Grifols.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

Companies

7 days in healthcare (July 11th-17th, 2022)

 

Summary

From the point of view of biomedicine, the finding that there are plans to produce vaccines in cases of pandemic in 100 days should be highlighted. If it is confirmed, it will be a positive consequence of the terrible covid pandemic, in the same way that wars sometimes produce technological advances.

With regard to Global Health, the efforts of the WHO to create a hub for the production of vaccines with mRNA technology in poor countries should be noted, given the failure of other initiatives, based more on goodwill than on realistic approaches.

As for International Health Policy, there is already evidence of the vaccines that have saved the most lives in the world. The first was that of AstraZeneca-Oxford, followed by that of Pfizer-BioNTech.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the wave of covid continues to grow, with an increased impact on hospitals, although it seems that we are already close to the “peak” of this wave. Plans for a new dose of the vaccine for those over 60 years of age. Important changes are announced in Madrid’s healthcare, given the seriousness of the problems in waiting lists, primary care and emergencies. Let’s hope that the plan is effective and does not remain in one more advertisement, to which we are so accustomed. It seems that the State Public Health Center will be created immediately, which is great news, if it is done well. The fact that it will not be an independent Agency (AIREF model) may lead to skepticism.

In the field of companies, it seems that a new pill is in sight, announced as almost miraculous, against obesity.

Biomedicine

Global health

  • Nature: A vaccine hub for low-income countries. WHO initiative to produce mRNA vaccines in low-income countries, given the failure of “charity”. Issues over the global vaccine market, global trade rules, and intellectual property (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01895-6)
  • The war in Ukraine. the devastation of health and human rights. Between February-24 and June-24, the WHO reported 323 attacks on health facilities, with 76 deaths and 59 injuries (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2207415)

International health policy

National health policy

Companies