Posts

7 days in healthcare (December 25th-31st, 2023). Happy New Year

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, 2023 definitely seems to be the year where the great impact of artificial intelligence on health has become completely clear. The example of a stethoscope that incorporates AI and substantially modifies the one invented 200 years ago is nothing more than an example of this great change. Scientific journals explore what 2023 has represented (anti-obesity medications and awareness of the impact of climate change on health, among others), as well as analyze the advances that are foreseen for 2024 (surely the HIV vaccine and the cure cholesterol, among many others).

Regarding Global Health, The Lancet dedicates its last issue of 2023 to exposing a series of photos related to health experiences in Nigeria.

Regarding International Health Policy, an interesting article in JAMA magazine that will cause controversy: it relates the increase in medical errors in American hospitals to their acquisition by private equity companies. It is one year since the end of the covid-zero policy in China and the Financial Times analyzes how that experience is remembered in that society.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), our country says goodbye to 2023 with the experience of three different Ministers of Health (Darias, Miñones and now García). It is evident that this dance of ministers (in 45 years there have been 28 Ministers of Health) can guarantee, in the best of cases, the continuity of the “ordinary administration”, but not the promotion of large renewing projects of change. SESPAS asks the Ministry to launch the Public Health Agency in 2024. The Ministry of Health of the Regional Government of Andalusia has experienced a serious crisis that led to the resignation of both the Vice-Minister and the Manager of the SAS. It seems that the underlying issue was the approach to addressing the waiting list and the involvement or not of the private sector in that resolution. If so, regardless of the anecdote of this moment, what it reflects is a very deep problem: the absence of a clear policy towards the private health sector on the part of the Popular Party. Madrid wants to promote a pharmaceutical hub, an issue in which Catalonia is by far in the lead.

In the field of Companies, on an international level, the great growth of the hair transplant market stands out, which already moves 8.7 billion euros annually. It seems that it is a nascent industry, but on the rise. The fever of anti-obesity drugs has meant that there are now 188 candidates, of which 25 are in advanced phase (III or IV). When it comes to national news, the fever of corporate operations in hospitals continues. Ribera, Quirón, Viamed and Vithas, the great protagonists.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International health policy

National health policy

Companies

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 23rd-29th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, Nature magazine analyzes the great impact of Artificial Intelligence in medicine. Interesting article from the New York Times about the possible addictive nature of social networks.

Regarding Global Health, the WHO adds 6.9 million deaths from covid, although warning that the global figure could triple. Major humanitarian and health crisis in Gaza, which is the subject of WHO concern.

In terms of International Health Policy, the NEJM wonders if the introduction of the American government’s law that requires negotiating the price of drugs for Medicare will delay the appearance of new cancer drugs. The conclusion is that, although pharmaceutical companies will look for ways to maintain their profits, delaying the appearance of medications does not seem to be the best strategy, due to the ethical, reputational and financial considerations inherent to the operation. The Economist analyzes how it seems that healthcare has ceased to be the bottomless pit for public accounts, as it was for many years, in which, year after year, its relative weight in the countries’ GDP increased. Although health expenditure increased its share of GDP in the years 20-21, due to the joint effect of health expenditure due to the pandemic and the decline in GDP, it has since fallen to reach 2008 levels. In the United Kingdom, It seems highly unlikely that Prime Minister Sunak will deliver on his promises on NHS waiting lists.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), given the evolution of the negotiations for the investiture and the possible continuity of Sánchez in the government, the national news of the week is the publication of the document “Spain advances”, which contains the agreements of the PSOE with SUMAR on different topics. The general tone of the document is more about promises than progress in certain necessary reforms and this same philosophy permeates the health part. On the other hand, the document does not cover all the topics (it does not talk about Defense, very little about foreign policy or other relevant issues). It gives the impression that this is the part in which SUMAR would intervene. From this point of view, as the health part is developed in some detail, it is assumed that a strong intervention by SUMAR in health is expected, regardless of whether the Ministry of Health is handed over to it. In summary, what is promised is to continue the processing of the Equity Law (which establishes direct public management as the preferred form of management in the SNS), a law is proposed with maximum times for waiting lists and there is talk of new benefits in mental health, oral health (although it seems to limit it to children and adolescents) and visual health. We consider the emphasis on the preferential nature of direct public management negative (there is multiple evidence of the good results of public companies and foundations or health concessions) and regarding the law on the waiting list it will surely not be the best way to solve this problem. We have already seen laws and regulations in some communities that had no effect. Both the PP, in the political sphere, and ASPE and ACES, in the world of health representation, have been against these measures.

In the field of Companies, on an international level, Amazon is torn between promises and realities in healthcare. Although large technology platforms will surely have an increasing role in healthcare (as in the financial world), it seems that they are finding it difficult to enter. Roche reaches an agreement to buy Telavant. At the national level, Ribera reaches an agreement with Microsoft to promote innovation and AI in healthcare. It seems that Grifols is making progress in its therapy against Alzheimer’s.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International health policy

National health policy

Companies

7 days in healthcare (July 3rd-9th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, the contribution of Artificial Intelligence to medical diagnosis is reviewed by JAMA magazine. It seems clear that AI is not going to replace the so-called Narrative Medicine, that ability of the doctor to communicate and to listen and interpret the history of the patients. Interesting advances in the field of  a simple way to diagnose pre-eclampsia and Parkinson’s.

With regard to Global Health, more and more importance is given to loneliness and its consequences on health, according to an editorial in The Lancet. Hunger and famine as a product of human activity, especially armed conflicts, is treated by Nature. Concern regarding the AIDS situation in sub-Saharan Africa, where anti-retroviral therapy has barely reached.

Regarding International Health Policy, in the United States, the FDA approves the first drug to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. In the UK, three health think tanks (King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation) are addressing both the government and the opposition calling for solutions to the critical situation of the NHS. They denounce a decade of underfunding, which has led the UK to have far fewer human and material resources than most European countries. An interesting subscription model for antibiotics is being considered in the United Kingdom. Pharmaceutical companies will receive 20 million pounds per antibiotic put on the market, regardless of the prescription. In France, the Cour des comptes publishes documents to promote home palliative care and the development of advanced practice nursing. An interesting WHO-Europe document on hospitals and their challenges is published.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the beginning of the general elections on July 23, has made the different parties have made their programs public, including the health ones. The PP dedicates 24 measures to health. The strong points are: the Primary Care Shock Plan (although the title on emergencies is debatable); the State Public Health Agency; the Agency for Innovation and Quality (similar to NICE); digitization; palliative care; and, the mental health strategy. A new General Health Law is announced. Although the current law has many obsolete points, the legal technique of addressing a new law (instead of partial reforms in relation to different issues) is debatable. There is a risk of opening a very large melon, of generating long delays and of putting health into the same dynamic as education (a law for each new government). Conspicuous absences: nothing about financing, no mention of waiting lists (one of the most serious problems in the system), dental care (an area in which we are very far from Europe) and nothing about public/private collaboration. The PSOE program continues to identify public service with public management, thus distancing itself from any form of public/private collaboration. Many measures are contemplated, seeming more like a government plan than an electoral program, so the priorities are difficult to identify. The star measure seems to be announcing a law on waiting lists. Laws on waiting lists have never been effective in any autonomous community. The solution to the waiting lists does not go through a time guarantee law but rather resources and productivity of the public system and an updated and agile system of collaboration with the private sector. SUMAR incorporates the Podemos program: creation of a public pharmaceutical company; end of the MUFACE model; deprivatization plan, including cleaning, catering and laundry; progressive elimination of the pharmaceutical co-payment; they also announce a law on waiting lists. The Vox program represents an amendment to the whole: recentralization of health, recovering powers in health matters; approach waiting lists; repeal of the euthanasia and abortion law; strong criticism of the WHO, which they accuse of dependence on China. At the national level, the other great news is the alarm given by the insurers involved in the MUFACE model (Adeslas, Asisa and DKV) regarding the fact that its financing is generating large losses, unaffordable in the long term.

In the field of Companies, internationally, large pharmaceutical companies (Merck, BMS) are suing the American government for what they consider lowering prices, as a consequence of the anti-inflation law. In Spain, Ribera continues to bet on public/private collaboration, but this time in Portugal.

Biomedicine

Global Health

  • Editorial of The Lancet: Loneliness as a health problem. In the UK and Japan there are loneliness ministers. The health damages are clear: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, infectious diseases, depression and anxiety. Loneliness is not the same as being alone and can affect all ages (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)01411-3/fulltext)
  • Hunger and famines are not accidents, but facts created by human action. Around 200 million people experience acute food insecurity. Especially Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Sudan and Syria. Hunger and conflict are connected (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02207-2)
  • HIV in Africa. Antiretroviral therapy has transformed AIDS into a chronic disease. But in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of AIDS patients live, few have access to this therapy, which greatly decreases life expectancy in the area (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2304600)

International Health Policy

  • COVID19
    • Weekly covid report published by the WHO, July 6, 2023. The African region has shown a slight increase in deaths with a decrease in cases. The remaining five WHO regions show a decrease in both the number of cases and deaths (https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/370545)
  • United Kingdom and National Health Service
    • Three health think tanks (King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation) address government and opposition on NHS issues. They are betting that the next election will end short-term politics in the NHS. The recovery of NHS services and waiting lists must be a priority. They denounce a decade of underfunding. They welcome the long-term plan on personnel, published last week. They point out that life expectancy is the second worst (before only the USA) of the 19 health systems analyzed in the King’s Fund report (https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/news/joint-letter-to-political-leaders-in-england-on-future-of-nhs)
    • The NHS intends to roll out the subscription model for antibiotics. Under the new proposal pharmaceutical companies would receive £20m for their new antibiotics, regardless of how many may be prescribed (https://www.ft.com/content/a0b5a2ad-06a4-499d-8195-b4d6a3f65f7a)

National health policy

  • 23 J elections: the health program of the PP
    • The PP dedicates 24 measures to health. The strong points are: the Primary Care Shock Plan (although the title urgent and emergencies is debatable); the State Public Health Agency; the Agency for Innovation and Quality (similar to NICE); digitization; palliative care; and, the mental health strategy. A new General Health Law is announced. Although the current law has many obsolete points, the legal technique of addressing a new law (instead of partial reforms in relation to different issues) is debatable. There is a risk of opening a very large melon, of generating long delays and of putting health into the same dynamic as education (a law for each new government). Conspicuous absences: nothing about funding, no mention of waiting lists (one of the most serious problems in the system), dental care (an area in which we are very far from Europe) and nothing about public/private collaboration (https://www.pp.es/sites/default/files/documentos/programa_electoral_pp_23j_feijoo_2023.pdf)
  • 23 J elections: the health program of the PSOE
    • The PSOE program continues to identify public service with public management, thus distancing itself from any form of public/private collaboration. Many measures are contemplated, seeming more like a government plan than an electoral program, so the priorities do not look good. The star measure seems to be announcing a law on waiting lists. Laws on waiting lists have never been effective in any autonomous community. The solution to waiting lists does not go through a time guarantee law but resources and productivity of the public system and an updated and agile system of collaboration with the private sector (https://www.psoe.es/media-content/2023/07/PROGRAMA_ELECTORAL-GENERALES-2023.pdf)
  • 23 J Elections: SUMAR’s health program

Companies

 

7 days in healthcare (June, 19th-25th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, ethical problems continue to be discussed as a consequence of the creation of embryos without eggs or sperm. Until now, an embryo required an egg and a sperm, but this new approach would allow, in hypothesis, to solve problems of infertility or pregnancy loss, but it is a matter to regulate very carefully. Two studies in Nature seem to show that the Y chromosome makes men more vulnerable to tumors.

With regard to Global Health, The Lancet focuses on the great threat of diabetes, since it is estimated that in 2050 there will be 1.3 billion diabetics, a disease related to obesity, diet, tobacco, alcohol and sedentary lifestyle. Inequalities in access to morphine are denounced, with the United States and Europe almost completely monopolizing its use. An important issue, since this drug has a relevant role in the treatment of pain and in palliative care.

Regarding International Health Policy, according to the weekly WHO report, covid is declining in both the number of cases and deaths in all WHO regions of the world. Only in the African region is there a slight increase in the number of deaths, with a decrease in the number of new cases. In the United States, the commercialization of meat grown in the laboratory is approved. One of the authorized establishments belongs to the Spanish philanthropist José Andrés. Also in the United States, not minor problems continue as a result of the annulment of the Roe v Wade ruling that transfers the authorization of abortion to the states. In the United Kingdom, the problems with the emergency services continue and a strike of resident doctors is called. New health insurance law in South Africa, which appears to represent progress towards universal coverage in that country.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), according to the WHO weekly bulletin, Spain is the country in Europe with the highest mortality from covid. The government and the communities agree to abolish the mandatory nature of masks in health centers and pharmacies. Ayuso, proclaimed President of the Community of Madrid, after the last elections. Absence of great news in the announcements of health measures for this legislature. As was already known, Spain is consolidating itself as a world power in clinical trials, an achievement no less.

In the field of Companies, internationally, Walmart (the largest supermarket chain in the USA) enters the primary care business, with 32 centers in 5 states. Walmart was already in healthcare, but it was with small clinics for minor care. Significant company purchases by Merck MSD and Lilly, which seems to confirm that M&A activity in pharmaceutical companies is reviving. In the Spanish national arena, ASEBIO announces an increase in investment in R&D by biotech companies in 2022.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

Companies

 

 

 

7 days in healthcare (April 3rd-9th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, vaccines against cancer and heart disease, based on mRNA technology, which are looming on the horizon 2030, seem to be the next great advance in medicine, potentially saving millions of lives. The Economist dedicates an article and an editorial to demonstrate the weak evidence for the therapy of gender transitions in adolescents, especially when they include pharmacological or surgical medication. Contrary to what had been a very popular assumption, moderate alcohol consumption does not produce health benefits, according to a study of more than 40 years published by the JAMA Network Open. Rather the opposite is true.

As regards Global Health, the WHO, born after the Second World War, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. He has emerged from the pandemic with injuries and issues, but acutely aware of his mission, purpose, and need for change. One of the problems it encounters is the discrepancies between countries in the discussion of a treaty on pandemics, which it intends to be approved in 2024. The Lancet publishes several articles on the commercial determinants of health, a subject of great interest. interest. Four industries – tobacco, unhealthy eating, oil and fossil fuels, and alcohol – are responsible for a third of deaths each year globally.

As for International Health Policy, in the United States, a federal judge in Texas has just banned the use of an abortion drug, which had been approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago. In France, the citizens’ convention, made up of 184 citizens chosen by lot, has just ruled in favor of euthanasia and assisted suicide, although with certain “red lines”. Macron wants to discuss the bill before the summer.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), surgical waiting lists set a new record, according to the report made public by the Ministry of Health, with data as of December 31, 2022. Almost 900,000 people waiting for a surgical intervention. An absolutely delegitimizing element of the system. As is well known, the Ministry only makes public the waiting lists for surgical intervention or specialist consultations, but not for special tests (radiology, radiotherapy, ultrasound, etc.), on which there are no national data, although there are some autonomous communities. Interesting article published in Gaceta Sanitaria on the economic impact of including dental care in public coverage. This is an issue that the majority political parties have been pronouncing in favor of for several years, but nothing has been done on it. Spain is possibly the European country with the least percentage of its health spending devoted to dental care. The declarations of the Minister of Health of Catalonia are surprising, justifying the dismissal of the nurses who criticized the Catalan C1. Since this type of statement about specific dismissals is not common among regional ministers, it is to be assumed that there is an important political background. The decision of Navarra and Asturias to launch public companies, one for medical transport and another for a hospital laundry, is also surprising. Wouldn’t there have been the possibility of resorting to private initiative to solve these needs, perhaps more efficiently than through a public company?

In the field of Companies, internationally, agreement between Medtronic and Davita to launch Mozarc. At the national level, it is worth noting the start of work on the Viamed hospital in Tarragona, and the separation of the “pharmacy” and “chemistry” areas of the company Esteve.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National Health Policy

Companies

 

 

7 days in healthcare (March 27th-April 2nd, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, the latest issue of The Lancet dedicates a special article and an editorial to chronic pain, which affects millions of people daily; For its part, the New England Journal of Medicine publishes a review and an editorial on Artificial Intelligence in medicine. It seems that humanity will soon break historical records in terms of longevity. It is also worth highlighting the advances that are being announced in regenerative medicine (xenotransplant, 3D organ printing and stem cells).

With regard to Global Health, the most important thing is the WHO’s warning to governments in dedicating efforts to health professionals, since many of them are close to retirement and the needs are increasing for many reasons.

Regarding International Health Policy, in the United States, the FDA authorizes the free sale of Narcan, a nasal spray against opioid overdose, which represents life or death for many people. In the United Kingdom, the popularity of the NHS is the lowest it has been for 40 years, when this type of study began.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), a new replacement in the Ministry of Health. Some consider that this Ministry has become the electoral launching pad for its incumbents (Illa, for Catalonia; Darias, for Las Palmas, and, apparently, Miñones, for Galicia). This approach, together with the short duration of the ministers, is one of the causes that contribute to the loss of prestige, leadership and role of the Ministry of Health, which has a policy of contingency management, but without a true project of transformation of the system, to propose to the different agents. The Minister of Health of Catalonia seems to have a plan to reinforce and retain professionals, something very necessary. I hope this plan works. The EMA has given the green light to the Spanish vaccine against the HIPRA covid, although only as a booster dose to the mRNA vaccines. Important social debate around surrogacy, as a result of the use of this procedure by a “celebrity”. Very different positions on the subject. Perhaps the most correct approach, as a quoted writer does, is to see who this procedure harms, if the parents, the unborn child, or the woman who lends her uterus. If the conclusion is that no one has been harmed, the most reasonable thing to do would be to approve this practice in our country, as it is in so many others.

In the field of Companies, internationally, BioNTech’s sales forecasts plummet, as a result of the lower demand for covid vaccines. At the national level, perhaps the most far-reaching news is the purchase by Viamed (Macquarie) of the Fátima hospital in Seville, after stiff competition with many other interested parties, including Vithas and Sanitas. Hospitales Parque (CASER) is set to grow at the rate of one hospital per year in the next three years.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

  • COVID
    • Data from Gisaid, the global repository of covid genomic data, increases the chances of discovering the origin of covid. Three years into the pandemic, it is still not certain whether the virus arose accidentally from a laboratory or was transmitted through an animal host (https://www.ft.com/content/f0733683-cb6d-4578-915a-aa60d7ba4c1d)

National Health Policy

Companies

7 days in healthcare (February 20th-26th, 2023)

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, perhaps the most striking thing is that it is the 90th anniversary of the first transplant in humans, which took place in Kherson (Ukraine), a city that is so topical today due to the Russian invasion. It was a kidney transplant to a 26-year-old woman.

As regards Global Health, an important report on maternal mortality published by the United Nations. There is no decrease in frequency in recent years. Globally, 800 maternal deaths occur every day, a staggering figure. Cholera emerges globally, with outbreaks already in 30 countries, which indicates serious problems in water management and in the sanitary and hygienic conditions of the population.

Regarding International Health Policy, it seems that, despite the large outbreak of covid that occurred in China, after the abandonment of the covid-zero policy, this has not generated new variants of the virus. In the United Kingdom, conflicts persist in the NHS, with junior doctors joining the strikes. Important division in Colombia before the new health reform promoted by President Petro.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the cumulative incidence of covid continues to rise slightly, although mortality is decreasing. The medical conflict continues, both in Madrid and in other communities. The cost of putting a personal assistant to each Primary Care doctor is evaluated: 505 million euros. It’s a lot of money, but it’s possibly part of the solution. The pharmaceutical sector, with a large rise in 2022, consolidates as a large export sector in Spain.

At the Business level, internationally, Apple about to develop a smart watch that can detect blood glucose level, which can change diabetes management. Big Pharma is resisting at the international level that patents are expiring and giving way to generics, as reported by the Financial Times. It seems that Fresenius is going to concentrate on the area of hospitals and generics. In principle, the rumors of the possible sale of Quirón and the preparation of several private equity companies for this operation are dissipated. In Spain, significant increase in sales of Korian, Quirón and Asisa. BUPA and Mapfre alliance to sell certain insurance in some Latin American countries.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

Companies

 

 

7 days in healthcare (January 23rd-29th, 2023)

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, it is worth highlighting, as the Nature article does, that among the 7 most promising technologies for 2023, at least three are directly related to biomedicine. It seems that not only neurons have a role in brain function, but also a relevant role of glial cells in certain disorders is beginning to be recognized.

As regards Global Health, the WHO requests 2.5 billion dollars to deal with health emergencies, particularly in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Ethiopia.

As for International Health Policy, a consensus began to be created three years after the start of the pandemic that, although not totally overcome, it is no longer the emergency that it was. The problems in China with the covid continue. The crisis in the NHS is the biggest for many years. Basically, there are two positions: the one that seems to be held by the current conservative government that the system is unsustainable without co-payments and very profound changes; or the one represented by The Lancet, which says that the system is perfectly viable, if it is provided with more resources. What is clear is that the UK lags behind other European countries in many resources (hospital beds etc.). Two good news in terms of health policy are led by countries that are not usually at the forefront on these issues: the smoking ban in Mexico and the mental health law in Nigeria. Tensions between governments and pharmaceutical companies over the price of medicines are increasing and this time they are not only in Europe, but also in the United States (the largest pharmaceutical market).

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the incidence of covid continues to drop, although mortality remains high (above 250 deaths per week). The medical conflict in public health continues, mainly in Primary Care. While there are communities that have reached agreements (Andalusia, Navarra, Aragon, Extremadura), in others (Madrid, Catalonia) there does not seem to be any sign of agreement, which makes us think and we will have to draw conclusions about different behaviors of the Administrations and of medical leaders. Conflict also between private health doctors and health insurers. It seems that the Equity Law is going ahead, after Darias’ agreement with Podemos. Interesting agreement in Madrid so that hospital specialists can also take leave. Aragon proposes that the issue of health be dealt with in the President’s Conference, which seems reasonable, given the seriousness of the problems, although the document of said community does not contain great innovative elements. After the more than debatable success of the operations in Alzira and Torrevieja, it seems that the Valencian government also wants to rescue Denia. At this point, a deeper and more articulate justification of political decisions should be demanded.

In the field of Companies, at the international level, it is necessary to highlight the great activity of private equity companies worldwide in the field of health, as revealed by the Bain report. In Spain, Ribera Salud leaves Extremadura. Important investments in our country from Bayer and Novartis are confirmed

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

Companies

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

 

Summary

From the point of view of Biomedicine, everything seems to indicate that important advances in the diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases are coming in the not too distant future, with cancer vaccines, the new FLASH radiotherapy, the diagnostic revolution of virtual biopsies and the incorporation of certain devices (such as smart watches) in the prevention and monitoring of certain pathologies.

With regard to Global Health, it should be noted that climate change seriously threatens our health, according to The Lancet. Another important article in this magazine refers to the fact that the covid has revealed the inequalities between social groups and countries in dealing with the pandemic, as well as the absence of a global health architecture.

As for International Health Policy, with regard to covid, an editorial in The Lancet says that far from being overcome, 2023 brings new concerns, such as the impact of the situation in China or the new form XBB.1.5 in the United States. In China, the post-covid zero situation continues, officially acknowledging almost 60,000 deaths in the last month, despite the fact that the WHO insists on the request for more transparency in that country. In the United States, the abortion pill, according to the FDA, can already be purchased in pharmacies and by mail order, even in states where abortion is totally prohibited, which indicates the difficulty of shortcuts and of wanting to close doors to the field. In the United Kingdom the serious crisis of the NHS continues. The health minister of the shadow Labor cabinet publishes in the Financial Times an article with a long-term approach to reforms, something that, regardless of its content, we miss in Spain by all parties. An important editorial in The Economist where it says that part of the solution to the NHS’s problems involves solving the problems of Primary Care, proposing several changes, but without losing perspective that a large part of the problems are in hospitals, with the situation of waiting lists and emergencies. He also opposes the Labor Party’s proposal, made last week, to end the independent mini-company character of Primary Care in the UK, in order to make primary care physicians salaried. The Economist carries out a study that says that in the United Kingdom there are 260 deaths a week (more than 12,000 a year) as a result of delays in the emergency room. The British are turning more and more to private healthcare, as increase problems in the public sector. The EU devises plans to avoid medicine shortages and dependence on China.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the drop in the incidence of covid continues, despite the situation in China and the American variant called Kraken. The Primary Care strike in the Community of Madrid is reactivated and a strike is on the brink in 8 autonomous communities, while the emergencies are collapsed. Despite the plans, recent studies show that almost half of public health workers are temporary. In relation to the Strategic Plan of the pharmaceutical industry, both BIOSIM and AESEG, as well as the representatives of orphan drugs, position themselves with requests, in a clear attempt not to leave this plan only in the hands of large innovative companies, as suggested by the photo of La Moncloa, with Sánchez meeting with the main leaders of pharmaceutical multinationals.

In the field of Companies, internationally, relevant news for Pfizer, BioNTech and AstraZeneca. In our country, it is worth noting the steps taken by Viamed (new hospital in Tarragona), Ribera (great growth in turnover in 2022), Miranza (which continues its growth), Korian (which is preparing to integrate Group 5) and the CUN (which has just renovated part of its hospitalization area). For its part, KKR has completed the acquisition of IVI, an important in vitro fertilization company of Spanish origin.

Biomedicine

Global Health

International Health Policy

National health policy

Companies