Tag Archives: medicine

Venezuela | Vaccine-preventable diseases surge in crisis-hit Venezuela

Vaccine-preventable diseases have not just returned, but surged in crisis hit Venezuela, according to new research presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (13-16 April). The study is by Dr. Adriana Tami (University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands and University of Carabobo, Venezuela) and Dr. Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi (IDB Biomedical Research Institute, Barquisimeto, Venezuela), and colleagues.

Venezuela has plunged into a humanitarian, economic and health crisis of extraordinary proportions. This complex situation has progressed into a general collapse of Venezuela’s health system, the dismantling of structures at the institutional, social and economic level affecting the life and wellbeing of the entire population. Some two thirds of the Venezuelan population currently live in extreme poverty, amid escalating violence. The country’s crumbling healthcare infrastructure is now more typical of conflict zones or war-torn nations. More than 280,000 children are now perceived to be at risk of death from severe malnutrition.

Ukraine | Rate of measles in Ukraine is rising again: 35K cases reported year-to-date

After several weeks of falling, the rate of measles in Ukraine is rising again, the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine said on April 1.

During the 13th week of 2019, 2,254 people – 1,133 adults and 1,141 children – contracted measles. During March 22-28, areas with the most registered cases include Kyiv (260 patients: 139 adults and 121 children), Kiev (200: 123 adults and 77 children), Khmelnytsky (177: 93 adults and 84 children), Lviv (165: 48 adults and 117 children) and Kharkiv (160: 91 adults and 69 children) areas.

The Netherlands | Amsterdam hospital gets €5m from lottery to make its own medicines

Amsterdam’s UMC teaching hospital has been given a €5m donation by a lottery organisation to prepare more drugs in its own pharmacy and so produce them more cheaply and more quickly than the pharmaceuticals industry. The plan to make more drugs is part of a wider campaign by the hospital to improve the availability of medicines for rare diseases which will focus on sharing information and carrying out research into why some drugs are so expensive. ‘We want to come up with concrete examples of the problems with expensive medicine in terms of price and availability,’ professor Carla Hollack, who is jointly leading the project, told the NRC. ‘That may lead to friction with the pharmaceuticals industry but that is not our aim,’ she said. ‘It is about identifying and solving mistakes in the system.’ Last year the hospital was embroiled in a major row with the drugs industry when it began making its own version of a licenced drug to treat a rare metabolic disorder. The hospital began producing the drug, known as CDCA, because it was no longer covered by health insurance after manufacturer Leadiant ramped up the price by around 500%. Concerns Last week, foreign pharmaceuticals companies in the Netherlands said they are ‘concerned’ that the government is undermining the business climate by trying to force down the price of drugs. The companies, including MSD, Gilead and Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen, are all members of Amcham, the American chamber of commerce in the Netherlands, which wrote to health minister Bruno Bruins calling for a rethink. In January, Bruins reacted angrily to a decision by Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis to put up the price of a drug to treat a rare form of cancer five fold, describing it as ‘outrageous‘. The Dutch healthcare institute Zorginstituut Nederland has also said insurers should stop paying for expensive drugs if pharmaceutical companies continue to refuse to say how they arrive at the price.

USA | The Hidden Reason Behind Low Vaccination Rates In The U.S.

It is widely agreed upon by health professionals that immunizations are one of the top few greatest advancement in public health – on par with clean drinking water. However, despite the known success of vaccines in reducing morbidity and mortality, immunization rates remain relatively low across the U.S. in 2019, especially in the 19-35 month age range. But Americans who blame anti-vaccination parents aren’t considering the full immunization story in the United States.

Prescription Drug Costs Driven By Manufacturer Price Hikes, Not Innovation

by Alison Kodjak

The skyrocketing cost of many prescription drugs in the U.S. can be blamed primarily on price increases, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications as drug companies frequently claim, a new study shows.

The report, published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, found that the cost of brand-name oral prescription drugs rose more than 9 percent a year from 2008 and 2016, while the annual cost of injectable drugs rose more than 15 percent.