7 days in healthcare (November 13th-19th, 2023)


From the point of view of Biomedicine, The Economist speculates in an article about whether certain regenerated neurons of the dentate gyrus could reverse Alzheimer’s, based on studies in mice. AI, useful in improving the detection of breast cancer.

Regarding Global Health, the WHO points out the rebound in measles worldwide. The number of cases and, above all, mortality are increasing a lot.

In terms of International Health Policy, the United Kingdom encourages the EU and the USA to join its “subscription model” for the development of antibiotics. In practice, it introduces a system of incentives for pharmaceutical companies not linked to the sale of the drug, which can be useful if new antibiotics against resistant bacteria are intended to be of low use. The King’s Fund (an important British health think tank) launches a study in which it analyzes in great detail the inequities in waiting lists. Without a doubt interesting reading in our country. In France, the SNCF (equivalent to our RENFE) launches an interesting initiative to alleviate the problem of medical deserts: build telemedicine centers near the stations.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the confrontation between private doctors and insurers continues. Without a doubt, the problems of personnel policy do not only occur, as some might think, in the public sector. They also occur in the private sector. The Ministry of Health calls the comments about the transfer of the MIR to certain communities hoaxes. The problem is that this issue appears in the investiture agreements. Success of the PRAN (the plan to reduce antibiotic consumption), obtaining good results in our country, despite continuing to be one of the countries with the highest consumption of antibiotics, both in humans and in veterinary medicine.

In the field of Companies, on an international level, the sale of obesity drugs could be a great boom and reach 100 billion dollars in 2030. On a national level, Quirón is advancing in the approach of building its new hospital in Gijón. Sanitas-BUPA buys a Turkish insurer. The bankruptcy administrator blames KKR for the bankruptcy of the dental company Dentix.


Global Health

International health policy

National health policy




7 days in healthcare (November 6th-12th, 2023)


From the point of view of Biomedicine, Victor R. Fuchs, a pioneer of health economics and possibly the most recognized and prestigious health economist in the world, dies. He always defended universal health coverage for the United States, although he was very aware of the difficulties of its implementation, due, among other circumstances that he explained, to the heterogeneity of American society. And it must be said that he was not wrong in that. The FDA has just approved an oral drug based on the intestinal microbiome, a new horizon in medicine.

As far as Global Health is concerned, although tuberculosis is preventable and treatable, it continues to be the infectious disease with the most mortality globally, after a short period of time in which it was covid. But 40% of the world’s population with tuberculosis is not treated.

In terms of International Health Policy, it seems that the covid pandemic did not damage developed economies as much as initially thought. This seems to be deduced from studies of initials from the United Kingdom and Italy. The EFPIA, the pharmaceutical industry’s association, continues to complain that the new European legislation could end incentives for innovation and put Europe in an even worse relative position than the one it already has with respect to the USA and China. The OECD has just published “Health at a Glance 2023”, a must-read.

If we talk about National Health Policy (Spain), the agreements of the PSOE and Junts (and also those signed with the PNV for the Basque Country and with the BNG for Galicia) contemplate the transfer of powers over the MIR (and in the case of the Basque Country also of the issuance of titles). Some say that constitutional values and democratic principles have been subordinated in the investiture agreements. Obviously, this does not happen with the MIR, but an important value is put at risk: the cohesion of the National Health System, based, among other issues, on the uniformity of the training system and recognition of titles and specialties, being , on the other hand, a highly recognized system. 11 public hospitals appear to be starting a lung cancer screening program. Since this procedure is not recognized in the SNS service portfolio, the innocent question is: who pays for this? Or is it simply a pilot program with special funding? The Community of Madrid proposes a modification of the current Law of Good Government, which required the appointment of managers of health centers by competition and which at the time was approved by broad consensus, to another system that allows the direct appointment of these positions by part of the SERMAS Board of Directors.

In relation to Companies, at the international level, the battle between pharmaceutical companies in relation to obesity continues (the main players are NovoNordisk, Lilly and AstraZeneca). Amazon is relaunching in health, providing health services through One Medical to its premium customers. At the national level, great growth in the 22nd year of dental, ophthalmological and aesthetic clinics. The purchase of the Eugin assisted reproduction clinics from Fresenius by KKR and GED is completed. The latter retains the business in Spain, while KKR will integrate the international business into IVI RMA.


Global Health

International health policy

  • United Kingdom and the National Health Service
  • OECD
    • The OECD publishes “Health at a glance 2023”. Main conclusions: healthcare systems are under severe financial pressure; there has been no complete recovery after covid; unhealthy lifestyles cause millions of deaths; Access barriers persist, despite universal coverage in most OECD countries; the quality of care is improving; digital health has immense potential (

National health policy




7 days in healthcare (October, 3rd-9th, 2022)



From the point of view of biomedicine, to review the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, won by Svante Pääbo, a scientist who is recognized for his studies on the DNA of human ancestors, which allows us to better understand genetic evolution towards the “homo sapiens”. It seems that a study with Artificial Intelligence of the eye will help predict coronary risk in minutes, without the need for blood tests or other studies.

As far as Global Health is concerned, it is believed that malaria could be definitively eradicated from the world, with the help of new vaccines.

As for international health policy, alerts in Europe about avian flu and diphtheria, brought by immigrants from Africa and Asia. To highlight the changes in Portugal, which incorporate an independent team to the management of the SNS.

If we talk about national health policy (Spain), the rise in covid cases prevents the Interterritorial Council from approving the abolition of masks on public transport. The health items in the General State Budgets are analyzed with a magnifying glass in the professional press, despite the low weight of the expenses of the Central Administration in the total health expenses. However, it allows to detect some priorities for the Ministry, although the economic items are usually below the challenges: primary care, genomic portfolio, mental health, dental care, primary care infrastructure, etc. The CEOE charges against the Equity Law, which it describes as “unprecedented risk”. The debates and controversies continue in relation to the delays in the incorporation of pharmaceutical innovation in Spain. However, these debates do not usually consider that the approval by the EMA of a medicine does not mean automatic public financing in Spain, according to article 92 of the Law on Guarantees and rational use of medicines, which establishes the “financing selective and not indiscriminate” according to a series of criteria, which are established. AESEG and BIOSIM no longer agree with the plan approved a couple of years ago on generics and biosimilars, but want the new approaches to be included in the Guarantees Law.

In the field of companies, in the international arena, BioNTech signs an agreement with Australia, for the establishment of research centers in that country. As for national news, the growing weight of online pharmacy (prescription drugs excluded by law). HM reinforces itself in Andalusia, incorporating four hospitals in Malaga into its network.


Global Health

International health policy

National health policy

  • General State Budgets (impact on health)



7 days in healthcare (March 14-20, 2022)



From the point of view of biomedicine, to highlight the new treatment for malaria in children; the new variant “Delatacron”, similar to the “ómicron”; and, the possibilities of artificial intelligence to accelerate the appearance of new medicines. We would like to underline the studies promoted by Valentín Fuster on ultrasound of the neck and groin arteries and their possibilities of detecting the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke to be promising, although it is a topic that has been talked about for a long time without much results.

Regarding Global Health, an interesting editorial in the British Medical Journal, entitled climate change, pandemic and war: an uncontrolled multi-crisis, since it seems that in this decade of the 21st century all the problems have accumulated; the verification that the low level of vaccinations in Africa is not so much due to the low level of vaccines, but rather due to the difficulties of reaching the population; interesting report on Nigeria and the problems of its health system.

In terms of international health policy, the problems of Asia’s “covid zero” strategy are noteworthy, which gave so much political return to the Chinese regime, presenting its low mortality successes and comparing them with the high mortality rates of other countries in the world ( United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, India, etc.). It seems that the “ómicron” variant, due to its contagiousness, is not easily approachable with the “covid zero” strategy, since that would lead to massive confinements in China. Resurgence of covid cases in Europe and Asia, which coincides with a relaxation of control measures.

If we talk about national health policy (Spain), it should be noted that the incidence of covid is growing, while the measures are relaxed, although there is concern in the Ministry of Health about a possible new wave of covid at the gates of Easter. Very important COFARES report on the pharmacy sector, proposing many innovative measures, which contrasts with the usual narcissism and laudatory speeches about the “Mediterranean model of pharmacy”, so liked by some professional representatives. Primary Care is trying to get back to normal, although with a thousand fewer doctors than before the pandemic. The birth rate in Spain is at historic lows, which is a serious problem. The Council of Dentists, in reporting that 34 million Spaniards have cavities, presents us with the reality of poor dental care in our country. A revolution in the use of biosimilars is coming, given the large number of biological medicines that will lose their patent in the coming years.

In the field of companies, it should be noted that Pfizer and BioNTech have requested authorization in the United States for a second “booster” for older Americans. Grifols bets on a vaccine against Alzheimer’s. HIPRA, the veterinary pharmacy company until now, hopes to start marketing its vaccine against covid in June.





o The “ómicron” variant is changing China’s “zero covid” strategy, at the moment more than 40 million Chinese are suffering some type of confinement, which is tolerated by the remaining 1.4 billion who lead normal lives. The legitimacy of the party is given by the low mortality. We’ll see if that can be sustained with the “omicron” (

o China reports the first deaths from covid in more than a year (

o Shanghai, possible confinement, after the discovery of 150 new cases of covid (

o Concern that new lockdowns in China may disrupt supply chains ( chains/21808193)

o Resurgence of covid cases in Europe and Asia, infections have risen 8% worldwide, but they are skyrocketing in Vietnam and Germany (

  • Other issues

o According to an American study (Health Affairs), hospitals differ in their services depending on whether they are for-profit, non-profit or government-owned, with the former tending to offer more profitable services and discontinue the others (https://www.healthaffairs. org/doi/epdf/10.1377/hlthaff.2021.01115)



o Latest report: the incidence of covid rise and 287 deaths, in Friday’s report (since Tuesday) ( -cases-287-deaths-ia-upload-44580-points_111800_102.html)

o The new plan against covid will put an end to the isolation of positives (

o The Ministry of Health fears the arrival of a new wave of covid at the gates of Holy Week ( .html)

o Paxlovid, the anticovid treatment promised by Sánchez, has not yet reached patients (

  • Other themes

o Spain was left out of the top 10 in public health spending in 2020, according to a report made public by Eurostat and spent an average of 600 euros less per inhabitant than the EU average ( top-10-ue-public-expenditure-health-2020_111467_102.html). To access the Eurostat report:

o Important COFARES report: pharmacist skills in the 21st century, proposing digitization, home delivery, legal changes and the sustainability of the pharmacy model ( evolution-pharmacy-role-pharmacist_111660_102.html)

o The Ministry of Health and the regions coordinate health care for refugees from Ukraine ( health-for-refugees-from-ukraine)

o The Ministry of Health puts the average time to approve a drug at “9 months” ( months_111648_102.html)

o The flu enters Spain with force (

o Primary Care is trying to get back to normal, with a thousand fewer doctors than before the pandemic ( normality-with-a-thousand-less-doctors-than-before-the-pandemic.html)

o The birth rate in Spain, at lows not known in several centuries, according to a study by the San Pablo CEU University ( html)

o A total of 34 million people in Spain have cavities, according to the General Council of Dentists ( caries_2001822_102.html)

o The Ombudsman receives 2,300 health complaints in 2021, according to the report presented (

o La Paz, on October 12 and Gregorio Marañón among the 100 best hospitals in the world, according to the classification prepared by Newsweek magazine ( )

o Incorporating 6,000 doctors in primary care would cost 358 million euros, according to the Collegiate Medical Organization (

o Mariano Esteban’s covid vaccine will not continue the clinical phase in Spain ( -csic-will-not-continue-the-clinical-phase-in-spain.html)

o Spain needs a plan for the second revolution in biosimilars, since one hundred biological drug patents expire between 2024 and 2029 (


  • International News

o Moderna supplies 70 million additional doses of its vaccine to Japan ( 19-a-japan.html)

o Pfizer and BioNTech request authorization for a second “booster” for older Americans ( )

o AstraZeneca, prepared not to continue with the efforts to obtain authorization in the USA for the covid vaccine (

  • National News

o Grifols bets on the Alzheimer’s vaccine and ends phase II of clinical trials ( phase-ii-trials-of-abvac40.html)

o The Danish A.P. Moller Holding completes the purchase of Unilabs (

o The founders of Rovi sell 5% after the success of the Moderna vaccine ( )

o Hipra hopes to market its covid vaccine in June (



7 days in healthcare (February 14-20, 2022)





In biomedicine, we have to highlight the studies that are confirming a modest association between an increased incidence of mental illness after COVID.

As far as Global Health is concerned, mention should be made of the book by Ed Miliband, a British parliamentarian, former leader of the Labor Party and minister with Gordon Brown, which amounts to a manifesto on public health in the wider sense, which, at the moment, is already beginning to be a literary genre, among which the books by Gordon Brown, Minouche Shafik, Fareed Zakaria and, soon, Bill Gates stand out.

Regarding international health policy, verifying that the calculation of excess mortality is the best way to assess mortality from COVID. The problem is that this may be valid for Europe and the Americas, but not for Asia and Africa, where the low mortality figures are hardly credible. Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister, asks the G20 for a global financial solution to tackle the pandemic, similar to what was done in the 1960s with smallpox. The Economist highlights Africa’s low capacity for vaccine production, in contrast to its large population.

Regarding the national health policy, the first thing to mention is the drop in the incidence of COVID, which last Friday reached 919 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is compatible with the fact that mortality skyrockets in the sixth wave and there is a delay in receiving the new antivirals. The government approves the Science Law project, with controversial elements among researchers. The massive retirement of professionals (including doctors) is probably the most far-reaching problem of the SNS. The SEOM (Spanish Society of Medical Oncology) denounces the lack of equity in access to drugs and markers.

In business news, we must mention the FENIN declaration in favor of the manufacture of medical technology in Spain, to avoid dependency in the event of pandemics; also that the fifth vaccine approved in Europe (NOVAVAX) receives authorization to be manufactured in Galicia (Porriño); Rovi extends its alliance with Moderna for the manufacture of vaccines for ten years.






o The incidence of COVID drops to 919 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, with 7.8% occupancy of hospital beds due to COVID and 13.7% of ICU beds ( -coronavirus/covid-19-spain-records-30615-cases-288-deaths-ia-baja-919_110353_102.html)

o Deaths from covid skyrocket in the sixth wave (

o Waiting for the antivirals that Sánchez promised in January (

o Public health detects an explosion of scabies cases related to the pandemic ( scabies-related-to-the-pandemic.html)

o Sports events capacity returns to 100% on March 4 (

  • Political announcements

o The Government approves the Science Law project that the sector sees with room for improvement ( -improveable.html?check_logged_in=1)

o Changes in the portfolio of services: more oral health and screening ( y-screened-6455)

o Spain adheres to the International Vaccine Institute (

  • Other issues

o Health approves the new vaccination schedule for 2022 (

o Strong mobilizations in the Andalusian health sector (

o Mass retirement of health workers: a drag on the SNS (

o Private healthcare demands a clear legal framework in the National Security Law ( security-law-8788)

o Lack of equity in access to drugs and markers (


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)

7 days in healthcare (13-19 December, 2021)


From an international point of view, perhaps the most striking thing is the great growth worldwide of the “omicron” variant, already present in 89 countries. Although it is clear that it is much more transmissible than the Delta variant, it is not clear that the disease is milder. Some countries in Europe decree confinements. The effectiveness of COVID passports is demonstrated, in terms of increased vaccinations. Figures for healthcare spending in the United States are released in 2020, spending increased significantly, especially federal spending, related to COVID. It reaches 19.7% of GDP (which is said soon). It is also striking that for the first time in the history of the United States, public health spending exceeds private spending.

Regarding national news, great concern about the rapid expansion of the pandemic, which forces the President of the government to convene a Conference of Presidents, for two days before Christmas Eve, which prevents measures from being adopted for Christmas. The plenary session of the Interterritorial Council approves the “Primary and Community Care Plan 2022-2023”, a set of good intentions and the announcement of measures that, where appropriate, would have to be implemented by the autonomous communities. Once again you see how difficult “co-governance” without good governance.

In relation to the activity of companies and other agents in the sector, the activity of vaccine manufacturing companies continues. Two things are difficult to understand: the letter from the President of the Madrid Medical Association to the President of ASISA and the launch by DKV-Yoigo of a medical insurance for 20 euros. We believed, on the one hand, that health insurance companies were free to hire their medical staff; and, on the other hand, that it was difficult to continue lowering the price of health insurance in our country. It is true that in the United States and other countries online insurance, Oscar type, is emerging with cheaper policies than conventional insurance. But in Spain the policies are already very cheap and I do not think that it is about making policies for young and healthy people, who hardly consume health care.


  • The “omicron” variant advances at an incredible speed (The Economist, 18 Dec 21)
  • The ECDC warns that vaccination alone is not enough and calls for drastic measures (La Razón, Dec 15 21)
  • The “omicron” variant grows 70 times faster than the Delta in bronchial tissue (The Guardian, Dec 15 21)
  • The “omicron” variant is already present in 89 countries and is growing rapidly, according to the WHO (The Guardian, 18 Dec 21)
  • There is no evidence that the “omicron” variant is more benign than the delta (FT, Dec 17 21)
  • Seven people die in the United Kingdom from the “omicron” variant (El Independiente, 18 Dec 21)
  • The Netherlands decrees a new strict confinement until January 14 (El Periódico de España, Dec 18 21)
  • COVID passports have a positive effect on the number of vaccinated, according to an international study carried out in six countries (Denmark, Israel, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland), (The Lancet, Dec 13 21)
  • The United States exceeds 800,000 deaths from COVID, the country with the highest mortality (The Guardian, Dec 15 21)
  • The scientific advances of 2021, according to the journal Science (the ease of identifying the structure of proteins, the most significant advance. In relation to medicine, several advances: treatments for COVID-19; psychedelic drugs versus some psychiatric disorders; artificial antibodies to infectious diseases; CRISP tools to modify genes within the body; Alzheimer’s medication, despite doubts about its efficacy) (Science, Dec 17, 219
  • The figures for healthcare spending in the USA in 2020 are published. The growth was 9.7% over the previous year, which had grown by 4.3%. The acceleration is due to the increase in federal spending, which grew 36%, especially in relation to COVID. The percentage of GDP dedicated to health reached 19.7%. The number of uninsured decreased. For the first time in US history, public health spending surpasses private spending (51% vs 49%) (Health Affairs, January, 22)
  • The repetition of epidemics due to different types of coronavirus (SARS, 2002 and 2003; MERS, since 2012 and COVID-19, since 2019) leads some to demand a kind of universal vaccine against coronaviruses. The article is signed, among others, by Fauci (New England Journal of Medicine, Dec 15, 2021)
  • Medicare Advantage for All, a potential pathway to universal coverage in the USA. Against Medicare for All, it would keep private insurers (JAMA, Dec 16 21)


  • Spain is at a very high risk of contagion, after exceeding an incidence of 500 per 100,000 in the last fourteen days (El País, 17 Dec 21)
  • Sánchez calls the conference of presidents for next week, given the worsening of the pandemic (El País, 18 Dec 21)
  • Announcement on TV on Sunday, December 19, by Sánchez of the presidents’ conference for Wednesday, December 22, without advancing any measures. Logically, due to the date, there is no possibility of organizing measures for Christmas (El Mundo, 19 Dec 21)
  • Navarra and the Basque Country among the five regions with the most COVID in Europe (El Español, Dec 16 21)
  • Third dose for people over 40 and vaccinated with AstraZeneca (El Confidencial, Dec 16 21)
  • Spain is at the forefront of Europe in excess of mortality, according to the EuroMoMo (The Objective, 19 Dec 21)
  • On December 15, the plenary session of the Interterritorial Council approved the “Plan for Primary and Community Care 2022-2023”, continuation of the “Strategic Framework for Primary and Community Care”, approved in 2019 and never implemented. The plan is a set of promises, which to a large extent have to be implemented by the autonomous communities (such as the finalist budget, telemedicine and others). The plan is strongly criticized by SEMERGEN (Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians and by FADSP (Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health) (Infolibre, Dec 16 21)
  • Antigen test: pharmacies appear to be short of supplies (El País, 19 Dec 21)
  • The Government (Ministry of Social Affairs and Agenda 2030) proposes to limit the residences for the elderly to a maximum of 50 places, as well as some ratios of staff per resident. The text must be consensual, which seems difficult (Infolibre, Dec 17 21)

Companies, employers and other agents in the sector


  • María Vila, elected President of FENIN (El Español, Dec 14 21)
  • Ana Polanco, reelected President of ASEBIO (Planta Doce, 16 Dec 21)
  • Letter from the President of the College of Physicians of Madrid to ASISA, reproaching him for the dismissal of doctors for the MUFACE system (Sanifax, Dec 15 21)
  • Spain has already manufactured 380 million vaccines for COVID (CincoDías, Dec 17, 21)
  • Catalonia creates a venture capital fund to promote scientific entrepreneurship (PlantaDoce, Dec 16 21)
  • The European Medicines Agency approves Pfizer’s anti-COVID pill (El Debate, 16 Dec 21)
  • Pfizer’s (Paxlovid) anti-COVID pill works well against the “omicron” variant, the company confirms (NYT, Dec 14 21)
  • The WHO and the EMA could approve the American vaccine NOVAVAX next week (FT, Dec 16 21)
  • Oracle, about to buy CERNER for US $ 30,000 million (FT, Dec 17 21)
  • The CDC discourages the use of the J&J vaccine, due to some clot problems (NYT, Dec 16 21)
  • Sanofi intends to request approval of its vaccine again (FT, Dec 15 21)
  • The IMED healthcare group invoices 12% more and its profit almost doubles, reaching 6 million (Valencia Plaza, Dec 15, 21)
  • The CEU and ASISA sign an agreement for the training of students at the HLA Moncloa hospital (El Debate, 18 Dec 21)
  • Venture capital is pushing for the formation of MIRs. The CVC fund studies buying MIR Asturias (El Periódico de España, 19 Dec 21)
  • Vivanta requests a ransom of 40 million euros from SEPI (PlantaDoce, Dec 16 21)
  • Quirón proton therapy successfully treats its first 100 children (ConSalud, Dec 14 21)
  • Philips expands its portfolio with the purchase of Vesper Medical (PlantaDoce, Dec 15 21)
  • Modern: agreement to bring a mRNA vaccine factory to Australia (PlantaDoce, Dec 14 21)
  • Company health insurance will become more expensive by 7.2% in 2022 (PlantaDoce, Dec 14 21)
  • Grifols sells VCN Biosciences for 66 million euros (PlantaDoce, Dec 15 21)
  • CSL acquires Vitor Pharma for 11.7 billion dollars (PlantaDoce, Dec 16 21)
  • Asistensi and Clínica de Navarra, agreement to export health insurance to immigrants (PlantaDoce, Dec 16 21)
  • Ysios enters the Dutch Northsea leading a round of 77 million euros (El Economista, Dec 17 21)
  • Biontech investors are studying buying Sandoz (El Economista, Dec 14 21)
  • Atrys Health acquires Simm molecular (Expansión, Dec 17 21)
  • DKV and the telephone company Yoigo launch a family health insurance for less than twenty euros (El Economista, 9 Dec 21)
  • The Savana company, founded in 2014, with an ecosystem of 160 hospitals in Europe and America, intends to lead the “healthcare data lake” (El Economista, 18 Dec 21)
  • Rovi receives the European recommendation for its own research antipsychotic (CincoDías, 17 Dec 21)
  • Almirall wins the rights to a drug against autoimmune diseases (CincoDías, Dec 14 21)

7 days in healthcare (6-12 December, 2021)




At the international level, the Israeli study published in the New England Journal of Medicine stands out, which showed, in a large sample of cases, a 90% decrease in mortality with the third dose. Also that the “omicron” variant extends to 57 countries. In the United Kingdom, plan B is activated, given the growth of the pandemic: teleworking, masks and COVID passport. The COVID pandemic is found to have exacerbated social inequalities globally.

Regarding national news, to highlight the accelerated growth of the pandemic, with figures that are already very worrying, although lower than other European countries. The government seems to trust everything to vaccines. Six communities are already at high risk. The Ministry advances a new strategy against smoking. COVID vaccination begins for children between 5 and 11 years old.

As for companies, many of them cancel Christmas celebrations, given the advance of the pandemic.


  • An Israeli study of 758,118 people who had received a third dose, after a full course with two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, showed that mortality was 90% lower than that of participants who had not received the third dose (NEJM , 8 Dec 21)
  • Afghanistan: collapse of the health system, WHO predicts that one million children will die of starvation this winter (BMJ, Dec 8, 21)
  • Health played a leading role in the COP26 climate conference (BMJ, Dec 7 21)
  • The “omicron” variant extends to 57 countries (The Guardian, 9 Dec 21)
  • Johnson activates plan B: teleworking, masks and COVID passports (The Guardian, 8 Dec 21)
  • COVID: More than 200 million Americans fully vaccinated (NYT, Dec 8, 219
  • The ‘omicron’ variant may produce 75,000 deaths by the end of April in the UK (The Guardian, Dec 11 21)
  • The COVID pandemic has exacerbated global inequalities, according to the “Global Inequality Report 2022” (Le Monde, 7 Dec 21)
  • Public Health expert Karl Lauterbach appointed Minister of Health in Germany (FT, Dec 6 21)
  • According to an article in the New York Times, the number of hospitalizations is now a better indicator of the evolution of COVID than the number of cases (NYT, Dec 11 21)
  • Fauci says that the “omicron” variant is more contagious but less serious (La Vanguardia, 7 Dec 21)


  • Spain exceeds 320 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days (Germany, 929; United Kingdom, 963; France, 875; Italy, 331; Portugal, 466; United States, 464; Austria, 1,215; Belgium, 2,082) ( Expansion, 9 Dec 21)
  • Hard headline of La Razón: “Europe faces «omicron» and Spain does nothing”. It refers to measures from the central government, which seems to trust everything to vaccination. The article presents the measures in the United Kingdom (telework, mask and covid passport); Germany (severe restrictions on the unvaccinated); France (closing of nightclubs from December 10); Italy (closing of events for unvaccinated); Austria (confinement of the entire population); Denmark (closure of nightlife venues); Ireland (closing of discos and shows); Sweden (vaccination certificate): Holland (closing of all non-essential shops after 5:00 p.m.) (La Razón, 10 Dec 21)
  • Six communities are already at high risk, according to the new health traffic light (, Dec 11, 21)
  • The new Strategy of the Ministry of Health against tobacco is presented: more taxes, more smoke-free spaces and less advertising (El País, Dec 8, 2021)
  • Spain approves childhood vaccination and will begin vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years old on December 15 (El País, 7 Dec 21)
  • Different vaccination strategies for children by communities: vaccination courses, hospitals and health centers or schools (El País, 10 Dec 21)
  • The intensivists, worried. In three weeks the number of admissions to ICU has tripled (El Periódico de España, Dec 12 21)
  • The birth rate in Spain falls by 5.4% in 2020 (PlantaDoce, Dec 9 21)


  • Companies cancel Christmas dinners and events and ask their staff to be prudent (El Confidencial, Dec 12 21)
  • Unilabs, until now from the Apax fund, acquired by the Danish family group A.P Moller Holding (Unilabs press release, 2 Dec 21)
  • Centene can sell its international businesses, in Spain Ribera (Forbes, Dec 10 21)
  • The alliance with Moderna bears fruit: Rovi enters the IBEX, instead of Viscofán (Valencia Plaza, 9 Dec 21)
  • Vivanta focuses its activity on dental to continue growing (PlantaDoce, 3 Dec 21)
  • Quirónsalud consolidates in Latin America (ConSalud, Dec 10 21)
  • The San Juan de Dios Hospital closes in Burgos (Medical Writing, Dec 10 21)
  • Ubikare, the healthcare start-up owned by Mutua, arrives in Madrid (10 Dec 219
  • Fertility moves more than 4,000 million in corporate operations (El Economista, Dec 11 21)
  • Otsu fuels its male sexual health business: ten new openings in 2022 (PlantaDoce, 9 Dec 21)

7 days in healthcare (15-21 November, 2021)



From the international point of view, the plan of the American Democrats to negotiate the price of medicines and its possible impact on innovation continues to be discussed; Europe is once again the engine of the pandemic, with demonstrations in some European cities against confinements and COVID passport measures; and finally, the United States reach a peak in mortality from opioid as the covid pandemic continues.

At the national level, four elements of interest: 1. Spain exceeds 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, although the situation is worrying, nothing to do with that of other European countries; 2. The state-of-the-art health PERTE is presented, doubts regarding its reformist impact; 3. Publication of the draft law that aims to consolidate the universality and equity of our National Health System; 4. The waiting lists are published as of June 30, 2021.

In terms of company news, perhaps most relevant is that both Merck and Pfizer’s COVID therapies will be available in generics for low- and middle-income countries.


  • Request for action in Afghanistan, given the food emergency, by the director of the World Food Program. Disaster is the consequence of conflict, economic collapse and drought (The Lancet, Nov 20 21)
  • Intense debate in the USA about the consequences for pharmaceutical innovation of the regulatory framework on the price of drugs that the Biden Administration wants to approve (NEJM, Nov 18, 21)
  • Democrats in the USA have a plan to reduce the price of drugs, without harming innovation (The Economist, Nov 20 21)
  • A year after the decision of the British NHS to move towards zero carbon emissions by the health system, another 13 countries, including Spain, have joined this approach, which entails important changes, especially in supply chains (The Lancet, Nov 17 21)
  • Europe is once again the engine of the pandemic, with the extremely worrying situation in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary, Romania and Russia, among others (Le Monde, 17 Nov 21)
  • Austria returns to lockdown (The Guardian, Nov 18 21)
  • Thousands of people protest in Vienna against confinement and mandatory vaccination (El País, 20 Nov 21)
  • Germany tightens restrictions on the unvaccinated and will force health workers and nursing home workers to be vaccinated (El País, 18 Nov 21)
  • Bavaria cancels Christmas markets, given the growth of the pandemic (The Guardian, 19 Nov 21)
  • The third dose can be extended to all adults, says British Health Minister Sajid Javid (The Guardian,
  • The majority of the European population, in favor of COVID passports (The Guardian, 19 Nov 21)
  • The use of masks reduces the incidence by 53%, according to an international study published in the British Medical Journal (The Guardian, 18 Nov 21)
  • In the USA, mortality from opioid overdose reaches record growth, while the pandemic continues (NYT, Nov 17, 21)
  • Fauci says the pandemic may be under control in 2022, with more third doses (The Guardian, Nov 17, 21)
  • Europe will prioritize the local manufacture of drugs to gain autonomy. This coming week the new EU pharmaceutical strategy will be approved (El Economista 21 Nov 21)


  • Spain exceeds 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the first time in two months (El País, 18 Nov 21). Comment: although the situation is worrying, it has nothing to do, however serious, with that of other parts of Europe. It seems that the high immunization, the fifth wave and the high percentage of vaccination are at the origin of this situation. However, we do not know if this differential is going to be maintained or we are heading towards a situation similar to that of most of the rest of Europe.
  • The autonomous communities denounce that they once again lack legal tools in the face of another wave of the pandemic (El Mundo, Nov 21, 21)
  • The state-of-the-art health PERTE is presented, which entails 1,489 million investment until 2023 (diariofarma, 15 Nov 21). Comment: there is no transformation in the sense of reforming the health system (which they consider good) and it is an investment aimed at the biotechnology industry. Mentions of primary care are imprecise. In summary: facing the transformation of the health system and to what extent European funds can help, including digitization, is an issue that remains to be seen
  • Published the Draft Law that modifies various regulations to consolidate equity, universality and cohesion of the National Health System, which seeks to prevent co-payments and promote direct management (Diario Médico, Nov 16 21)
  • Waiting lists published as of June 30, 2021: 121 days on average to undergo surgery and 75 days to visit a specialist. 661,162 people, waiting for an intervention. The lists are close to those in 2019 (La Vanguardia, Nov 26 21)
  • ASPE offers its collaboration to end the waiting lists (Medical Redaction, Nov 18 21)
  • Summer-22 is set as the limit to reform the Framework Statute in the summer of 2022, for which it is announced that there will be minor changes to adapt to the Basic Statute of Public Employees and the labour conditions of residents (Diario Médico, Nov 18, 21)
  • The Public Health Center will go to the Council of Ministers soon (Consalud, 19 Nov 21)


  • Pfizer’s anticovid pill will be sold as a generic drug in 95 low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, although the agreement excludes some countries hit hard by the pandemic. Previously, Merck had announced something similar (NYT, Nov 16 21)
  • European regulators, with serious doubts about Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug (FT, Nov 17 21)
  • DKV remains in the MUFACE system (company declarations)
  • The EMA launches the emergency authorization process for the NOVAVAX vaccine, which would be the first vaccine with recombinant proteins developed in the European Union (Expansión, 18 Nov 21)
  • Quirónsalud launches two new phase I clinical trial units in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​following an agreement with Next Oncology (Diario Médico, 19 Nov 21)
  • Prim improves its profit by 90% in the first nine months of the year, to 12 million (PlantaDoce, Nov 15, 21)
  • Moderna appoints new general manager for Spain and Portugal, Juan Carlos Gil (PlantaDoce, Nov 16 21)
  • Miranza expands its presence in the Basque Country and opens a new center in Bilbao (PlantaDoce, 15 Nov 21)
  • The German biotechnology company CureVac will begin second-generation vaccine trials (ConSalud, 19 Nov 21)
  • Rovi expects to reach growth forecasts for 2023 this year (CincoDías, Nov 16, 21)
  • Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna expect to bill 62,000 million euros in 2021 with their vaccines (CincoDías, 15 Nov 21)
  • The Spanish HIPRA vaccine will prove its effectiveness as a booster injection for Pfizer vaccinated (Expansión, 16 Nov 21)
  • USA will pay 4,650 million euros to Pfizer for 10 million anti-covid treatments (CincoDías, Nov 18, 21)
  • Almirall collapses on the stock market, after losing 40 million euros (Expansión, 15 Nov 21)

7 days in healthcare (1-7 november, 2021)




From an international point of view, to highlight something we knew: that WHO, in its current configuration, is not prepared for global health challenges. However, this finding is important in the article in the British Medical Journal by Anthony Costello. Europe, once again in the center of expansion of the pandemic. The decision of the North American Democrats to reduce the price of medicines, via the negotiation in Medicare, is very far-reaching. This decision, if applied, will have major consequences for the entire pharmaceutical industry globally.

At the national level, to highlight the article in The Lancet, which says that Spain could have achieved group immunity. For the rest, the incidence of COVID continues to grow in our country, although it does not reach, by far, those of other European countries. Waiting lists are a big concern throughout Spain. Controversy over the new Equity, Universalization and Cohesion Law. Podemos wants to take advantage of it to repeal Law 15/1997, which allows the outsourcing of health services.

As a business activity, to highlight the two new antivirals against covid-19, one from Merck and the other from Pfizer. Merck has released the patent so that it can be used widely in developing countries. Novartis dissociates itself from Roche, selling it its 33% stake in the latter company.


  • The WHO, in its current configuration, is not ready for its purpose, but is limited by lack of funds and political interference, and this has been demonstrated in this pandemic that has produced more than 18 million deaths, writes the economist Anthony Costello in the British Medical Journal (BMJ, 3 Nov 21)
  • Europe once again at the center of the covid pandemic, says WHO, (The Guardian, 4 Nov 21)
  • The WHO warns of the increase in deaths from covid in 56 countries, and insists that vaccine manufacturers have not done their job well (ConSalud, 5 Nov 21)
  • Democrats in the United States reach an agreement to reduce the price of drugs, allowing the government to negotiate the price of Medicare drugs. The United States pays three times more for many drugs than Europe, according to a study by the Brookings Institution. Initially, the measure will be launched with the 12 most expensive drugs (FT, 2 Nov 21)
  • The fourth wave continues to beat the record of infections in Greece, with almost 7,000 daily (El Confidencial, 6 Nov 21)
  • Excess mortality grows in Russia, since the beginning of the pandemic (FT, 2 Nov 21)
  • The management of the pandemic leaves a trail of investigated political leaders: Brazil, France, Italy, Austria, India, … (El Debate, 2 Nov 21)
  • India’s successes against covid are analyzed: more than half of Indians have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 6 million are vaccinated every day (The Economist, 29 Oct 21)



  • The Lancet suggests that Spain could have achieved group immunity. They are based on the high infections and the high percentage of vaccination (La Razón, 3 Nov 21)
  • The incidence of covid rises more than two points, to 53.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (El País, 5 Nov 21)
  • Madrid for the first time exceeds half a million patients to see the specialist. Experts warn that the pandemic has generated in Spain a dammed demand that will emerge in the coming semesters (El País, 5 Nov 21)
  • Spain, one of the five countries in which Covid-19 caused the greatest loss in life expectancy, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal (ABC, 3 Nov 21)
  • The Health Ministry sells a million vaccines to Australia, New Zealand and Paraguay, before they expire (El Español, 2 Nov 21)
  • The WHO requests to increase oral public coverage in Spain (Health Act. The proposal receives the support of the General Council of Dentists (Health Act, 5 Nov 21)
  • Podemos will not support the Darias Equity Law. The Ministry wants to promote a Law of Equity, Universality and Cohesion and Podemos does not support it by not repealing Law 15/1997, which allows the outsourcing of health services (ConSalud, 5 Nov 21)
  • The Health Ministry seeks location for its strategic reserve of covid material (El Periódico de España, 5 Nov 21)



  • Merck drug effective to treat covid-19. The drug is an oral antiviral, called molnupiravir, and has already been approved by the British Agency. It has been launched by Merck and Ridbback Biotherapeutics, a Florida-based biotech. The drug is indicated for the unvaccinated and for those vaccinated who develop the disease. The treatment will be worth US $ 700 in developed countries. Merck will allow the development of generics in 105 countries (The Economist, 4 Nov 21)
  • Alphabet, Google’s parent company, launches an AI company, Isomorphic Labs, for the discovery of new drugs. It will work together with DeepMinds, Google’s AI company (FT, 4 Nov 21)
  • Pfizer increases the sales forecast of its covid vaccine in 2021 to 36,000 million US $ (FT, 2 Nov 21)
  • Biogroup, a bioanalysis group piloted by Stéphane Eimer and with a presence in Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, enters the Iberian Peninsula with the purchase of Cerba Internacional and Analiza (both owned by Marcelo Weisz). ASISA will retain its 50% stake in Analiza (Les Echos, 4 Nov 21)
  • Novavax, a protein-based American covid-19 vaccine, receives its first approval in Indonesia. May promote immunization in developing countries. An application for authorization has also been sent to Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union (FT, 1 Nov 21)
  • Pfizer announces an antiviral pill (Paxlovid) that prevents 89% of hospitalizations and deaths from covid (El País, 5 Nov 21)
  • The Valencian government will propose to the Data Protection Agency a sanction to Ribera for withholding data from the Torrevieja hospital (, Nov 4 21)
  • Centene closes the year of the coronavirus with losses in its health adventure in Spain (Nov 6, 21)
  • “Son Espases”: the macro-investigation on the concession to OHL of this hospital in the Balearic Islands, which links the Balearic Islands with the illegal financing of the PP (, Nov 5, 21)
  • Novartis sells its 33% stake to Roche for more than US $ 20 billion. A relationship of more than twenty years between the two companies is ended (PlantaDoce, Nov 4, 21)
  • MD Anderson launches a clinical trials unit (PlantaDoce, 3 Nov 21)
  • Eugin expands through Canada and acquires the fertility centers of Trio Fertility (PlantaDoce, 2 Nov 21)
  • Affidea, a European provider of diagnostic imaging, outpatient services and cancer care, expands in Spain and Northern Ireland with two new acquisitions (PlantaDoce, Nov 3, 21)
  • The biotechnology company of Spanish origin Aura Biosciences, jumps to the Nasdaq (PlantaDoce, 3 Nov 21)
  • Rovi doubles its profit in the first nine months of 2021, to 99 million (PlantaDoce, 3 Nov 21)