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



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.


Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy


7 days in healthcare (January 10-16, 2022)



From the international point of view, several issues stand out. In the first place, the agreement of the French Assembly taken on Sunday, January 16, to prevent the access of the unvaccinated to leisure and restaurant premises; also Quebec’s initiative to introduce special taxes on the unvaccinated; the WHO’s opinion that it is too early for COVID “flu” policies, as proposed by Spain; the calculation by ISGlobal (Barcelona) that COVID has already left 17 million deaths globally; and the big push for research on neurodegenerative diseases.

As for national news, the SEMFYC (one of the Primary Care medical societies) editorial had a great impact defending the “flu” policies of COVID and, therefore, the minimization of measures, encouraging, consciously or unconsciously, the “light” negationism. This position was quickly adopted by the central government and certain authorities of the Community of Madrid. The central government even tried to lead this position at the international level. Rejection of this idea by other Primary Care societies, a large number of experts, the WHO and the EU. Meanwhile, the incidence of COVID continues to rise to figures never seen in other waves (2,923 cases per 100,000 inhabitants). The price of antigen tests is regulated, after multiple requests from various groups. It is agreed to extend the third and fourth doses. Serious problems regarding sick leave, for which solutions are articulated about the legality of which is in doubt. The purchase of COVID medicines is announced. Ayuso Plan to stimulate the birth rate in Madrid.

As far as companies and other actors are concerned, a group of scientists in Texas announce a vaccine against COVID, which, according to them, it will be cheaper, easier to make and patent-free. Pfizer announces that it will have a new vaccine against the “ómicron” variant ready in March


  • France: the Assembly approves by 215 votes against 58 the law that prevents the access of the unvaccinated to leisure and restaurant venues (Le Monde, Jan 16, 22)
  • Quebec’s plan on special taxes on the unvaccinated is well received in Europe. the argument is: “10% of the population cannot overload 90%”. Cold reception at the federal level in Canada and in other provinces. However, in Europe it is not receiving a bad reception: Greece and Austria already fine the unvaccinated, Italy is studying it, France extends the “covid passport” (BMJ, Jan 14, 22)
  • Fourth dose in Israel, which had already been announced for the immunosuppressed, is now being extended to health professionals and those over 60 years of age (Lancet Respir Med, Jan 11, 22)
  • The WHO considers that it is too early to treat COVID-19 as endemic, contradicting the Spanish government’s proposal, and predicts that half of Europeans can be infected (FT, Jan 11, 22)
  • COVID-19 pushed millions of Indians into poverty (The Economist, January 12,22)
  • Some experts predict a new COVID wave at the beginning of the summer (The Guardian, Jan 14, 22)
  • China’s zero COVID policy is creating problems for the manufacturing and distribution chain sectors (FT, Jan 16, 22)
  • Beijing reports the first case of the “ómicron” variant (The Guardian, Jan 15, 22)
  • COVID would have already left 17 million dead in the world (the official figures are 5.5 million), according to a study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, sponsored by the La Caixa Foundation (Diario Médico, Jan 15, 22)
  • The Epstein-Barr virus may play a role in the development of multiple sclerosis (NYT, Jan 13, 22)
  • The Economist looks at how healthcare is evolving into a consumer product (The Economist, Jan 15, 22)
  • Great boost to research on neurodegenerative diseases, with 260 drugs under development: Alzheimer’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, multiple systemic atrophy, Parkinson’s and others (Diariofarma, Jan 14, 22)


  • Incidence of COVID and evolution of the sixth wave

o As of January 13, 2022, the 14-day cumulative incidence of COVID amounts to 2,923 cases/100,000 inhabitants. It is not clear if the peak of the wave has been reached or if we are still going up. In any case, the figures are very high (Official data Ministry of Health, update to  Jan 13, 22)

o Almost half of the Spanish provinces have ICUs at very high risk (El País, Jan 12, 22)

o The debate on those hospitalized “for” COVID and “with” COVID is introduced (El Independiente, Jan 10, 22)

  • “Influenzaization of the pandemic”

o An editorial in a journal of the SEMFYC (Spanish Society of Primary and Community Care Physicians), one of the three scientific societies of Primary Care, advocates the “influenza” approach  of the COVID, avoiding counting individual cases and omitting general measures of protection (AMF-SEMFYC, Towards the end of the exceptionality, Jan 10, 22)

o The other scientific societies of Primary Care, as well as most of the experts, took a stand against the previous proposal, at least until the sixth wave was passed.

o Notwithstanding the foregoing, both the President of the Government and Minister Darias, and certain representatives of the Community of Madrid, expressed their agreement with the approach as “influenza”

o Not only that, but that approach was taken to the WHO, which showed its disagreement. Spain wants to lead this debate in the EU (El Periódico de España, Jan 12, 22)

  • Regulation of the price of antigen tests

o The government (Interministerial Commission on the Price of Medicines) limits the price of antigen tests to 2.94 euros and they will continue to be sold only in pharmacies, with entry into force on Saturday, January 15, 2022. The price is 50% more expensive than in France and Germany (El País, Jan 13, 22)

o During the free sale period, the gross margin for pharmacies was 25-50% (El Economista, Jan 13, 22)

o FEFE expresses its “deep discomfort” at having to sell the tests at a loss (diariofarma, Jan 14, 22)

  • The third and fourth doses are extended

o The Ministry of Health announces a fourth dose for patients at risk and will extend the third to those over 18 years of age (La Razón, Jan 13, 22)

  • Purchase of COVID medications

o Spain closes an agreement with Pfizer to buy 344,000 doses of its drug against COVID

o The regions were unaware of this and ask for an equitable distribution (El Español, Jan 11, 22)

  • Serious problem with sick leave

o COVID causes more than 10,000 sick leaves per day in Spain (El Independiente, Jan 11, 22)

o This situation collapses health centers

o A system is put in place so that discharge and discharge (after 7 days) take place in the same act. Madrid calls for a regulatory change, to which the Government does not seem willing (El Economista Jan 12, 22)

  • Ayuso Plan to stimulate the birth rate in Madrid

o It is intended to go from 50,000 to 70,000 births/year in the region. The plan consists of aid of 500 euros, flexible working hours, deductions and support for assisted reproduction (La Razón, Jam 10, 22)

  • Other themes

o FACME disagrees with the recertification plan of the Ministry of Health, which launched a tender to hire a consultant (Official note from FACME,  Jan 13, 22)

o Teachers facing the return to classes, doubts with the new protocol and fears (El País, Jan 10, 22)

o A court condemns the Generalitat Valenciana to compensate the toilets for not giving them the means of protection (El País, Jan 11, 22)

o Ingesa attempts an agreement on biosimilars, which does not have the agreement of BIOSIM (diariofarma, Jan 9, 22)


  • A group of scientists in Texas announce a vaccine (CORBEVAX) that is cheaper, easier to make and patent-free (The Guardian, Jan 15, 22)
  • GSK rejects UNILEVER’s offer of 50,000 million pounds for its consumer division (FT, Jan 15, 22)
  • Medicare introduces major restrictions on the use of Biogen’s drug against Alzheimer’s (NYT, Jan 11, 22)
  • Adeslas will enter 1,655 million euros for MUFACE and ASISA 1,268 (PlantaDoce, Jan 12, 22)
  • Vivanta adjusts its network of centers, putting its beauty business up for sale (PlantaDoce, Jan 12, 22)
  • Pfizer says that it will have a new vaccine against “ómicron” ready in March (Redacción Médica, Jan 10, 22)
  • Merck acquires the US company EXELEAD for 789 million dollars (PlantaDoce, Jan 7, 22)
  • Medtronic reaches an agreement to acquire Affera (ConSalud, Jan 14, 22)
  • Eugin acquires the Delaware Institute of Reproductive Medicine (PlantaDoce, Jan 10, 22)
  • Caser Residencial acquires a new social health center in Laguna de Duero (PlantaDoce, Jan 13, 22)

7 days in healthcare (January 3-9, 2022)



From an international point of view, perhaps the most striking thing is the great global expansion of COVID, particularly of the “omicron” variant, with a record number of infections in the United States, of more than one million a day.

As for national news, official policy continues to trust everything to vaccination, avoiding other measures that may have certain political costs. The problem is the number of deaths, the collapse of the health system (which affects not only COVID cases, but the rest of the patients) and the large number of sick leave. The only measure at the national level is the obligation of the mask outdoors (about whose effectiveness many doubt), without addressing the need to control the aeration of premises based on CO2 meters; the avoidance of crowds; considering the mandatory nature of the vaccine for certain groups (health workers, teachers, etc.); the more agile activation of the third dose; ensuring the existence of antigen tests and regulating their price; the management of sick leaves in another more agile way, in such a way that Primary Care no longer completely collapses; and, ensuring the purchase and accessibility of new drugs against COVID.

Regarding company news, to highlight the record sale of 7 million antigen tests by pharmacies in the week of Christmas; and the great news that the Spanish HIPRA vaccine may be present in the second quarter of year 22.


  • 5 key articles published in JAMA on January 6: 1. A National Strategy for the New Normal of Life with Covid; 2. A National Strategy for COVID-19: Testing, Surveillance and Mitigation Strategies; 3. A National Strategy for COVID-19 Medical Countermeasures: Vaccines and Therapeutics; 4. The First 2 Years of COVID-19: Lessons to Improve Preparedness for the Next Pandemic; 5. The Pandemic Preparedness Program: Reimagining Public Health (JAMA, 6 at 22)
  • Deloitte publishes a document with the six major topics that will be present in health in 2022: 1. Health equity; 2. Corporate Social Responsibility: 3. Mental health and well-being; 4. Digital transformation and impact on delivery models; 4. The future of medical science; 5. Public Health, reimagined (Deloitte,
  • The Lancet identifies humanitarian needs by 2022, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance will rise in 2022 to 274 million, from 235 million in 2021 (The Lancet, Jan 8, 22)
  • Peter Singer, possibly the most famous bioethicist in the world, says that, in the face of a shortage of ICU beds, according to him, vaccinated people would have a preference (Project Syndicate, 5 at 22)
  • The USA reports a record number of infections throughout the pandemic, more than a million a day (FT, 4 in 22)
  • Italy declares COVID vaccination mandatory for those over 50 (The Guardian, 5 at 22)
  • A Chinese city of 1.2 million inhabitants, in confinement, before the appearance of three cases (The Guardian, 4 in 22)
  • Israel announces vaccination with a fourth dose for those over 60 years (Vozpópuli, 2 in 22)
  • The WHO follows the new IHU variant identified in France but states that it is not circulating very actively (El Mundo, 6 in 21)
  • More patients and fewer professionals push New York hospitals to the limit (NYT, 7 at 22)
  • Military deployed to London hospitals, to compensate for the absence of personnel (The Guardian, 7 at 22)
  • The French presidency of the European Union (first semester of 2022), intends to take steps in promoting the “European Health Union”, strengthening the ECDC, EMA and HERA (ConSalud, Jan 9, 22)


  • “Spain, sick, resigned and incredulous”, hard and accurate article by José Antonio Zarzalejos, on the absence of a strategy against COVID-19. He accuses of attempts to trivialize the attitude of the Spanish authorities (both national and regional), trusting everything to vaccination, but not adopting other measures, as in other countries. It has not even debureaucratized sick leave. The government gets out of the way, individualizing the response to the pandemic. (El Confidencial, 8 at 22)
  • The number of cases in Spain reaches record figures throughout the pandemic (2,722 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days). The numbers of admitted and patients in ICU are somewhat lower than in other waves, but also worrying (Ministry of Health, Update no 537. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 01.07.2022)
  • Between the need to care for COVID, the administrative role for sick leaves and the personnel’s own dismissals, the «omicron» variant pushes Primary Care to the limit (El País, Jan 3, 22)
  • ICUs are as full as a year ago, with 10 times more incidence (El Español, 6 in 22)
  • More than a million children between 5 and 11 years old already have the first dose of the vaccine (El Confidencial, 4 in 22)
  • Spain is late in the purchase of new anti-COVID drugs, while other European countries already have reservations, but in Spain this was delegated to the autonomous regions (La Razón, 7 at 22)
  • The return to classes will be face-to-face at all stages from January 10, agreement of the Interterritorial Council (Sanitary Act, 4 at 22)
  • Health and communities say that at the school level, entire groups will only quarantine if there are five or more cases (El País, 7 out of 22)
  • Raise to five the positives in a classroom to confine them, something without scientific evidence, says the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (7 in 21)
  • Flurona, first cases of simultaneous influenza and covid infections in Spain (Expansión, 3 in 22)
  • December closes with 240,000 sick leave due to COVID, three times more than in November (CincoDías, 4 in 22)
  • A CIS study shows (?) That 55% of Spaniards are not being greatly affected by the pandemic (Vozpópuli, 3 in 22)
  • Great step back from smoking in Spain, they start smoking again like a decade ago (El Periódico de España, 4 at 22)
  • Almost forty organizations reject the Madrid Omnibus Law, published on December 23 and with a 7-day hearing procedure, between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, modifying 33 laws and 5 decrees in force in the Community of Madrid (Acta Sanitaria, 4 Jan 22)


  • Pharmacies sold a record 7 million antigen tests in the week of Christmas (CincoDías, 4 in 22) and in six months they have sold more than 21 million tests (El Debate, 6 in 22)
  • According to the Minister of Health, antigen tests will only be sold in pharmacies, contrary to what happens in other European countries (Diariofarma, 4 in 22)
  • Private hospitals denounce the Xunta for not compensating for its intervention during the state of alarm (La Voz de Galicia, 4 at 22)
  • HIPRA, the Spanish vaccine, already has a release date in the second quarter of 2022 (La Razón, 4 at 22)
  • The vaccine triggers the value of Novavax, Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer on the stock market (Expansión, 6 Jan 22)
  • Pfizer and BioNTech will search for a vaccine against herpes zoster (CincoDías, 5 en 22)
  • The German Synlab buys the Valencian company Sistemas Genónicos, belonging to the Ascires group (Expansión, 7 at 22)
  • Rovi, newcomer and favorite among IBEX stocks (CincoDías, 9 at 22)
  • Telefónica has more than 50,000 clients in its telemedicine service (The Objective, 6 in 22)