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Progress report on promises made to improve South Africa’s health services

Over the last three years South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has made several promises to improve health care in his annual state of the nation address. This includes fighting TB, improving life expectancy and reducing maternal, infant and under five mortality. Health and Medicine Editor Candice Bailey asked a panel of academics to assess whether the promises have been kept.

Published
11 February 2016
From
The Conversation
Pharma company Viiv’s attempt to secure patents for key HIV drugs dolutegravir and cabotegravir opposed in India

People living with HIV have opposed patent applications in India for two important HIV medicines, dolutegravir and cabotegravir. Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) supports these ‘patent oppositions,’ which have been filed to challenge an attempt by ViiV Healthcare (a joint venture by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline) to obtain monopoly rights in India while several of its patent claims are questionable according to Indian patentability criteria.

Published
11 February 2016
From
Médecins Sans Frontières
Abbott inks $5.8B deal for Alere to expand in point-of-care diagnostics

Abbott has landed on its next purchase, snatching up diagnostics outfit Alere to bulk up in point-of-care diagnostics and expand its international reach.

Published
09 February 2016
From
Fierce Medical Devices
Fair Pricing Coalition Recognizes Merck’s Lower Price for Curative Hepatitis C Treatment, Calls for Manufacturers to Reduce Excessive Prices and Increase Patient Assistance

The Fair Pricing Coalition (FPC) today expressed appreciation for Merck’s & Co. Inc.’s decision to launch its new curative hepatitis C (HCV) treatment, Zepatier, at a price below existing HCV treatments in a tacit acknowledgement that existing high prices have hurt patients and are untenable for the market. Zepatier’s $54,600 list price is lower than the egregious prices for Gilead Sciences’ Harvoni ($94,500) and AbbVie’s Viekira Pak ($83,319), and represents a step in the right direction.

Published
08 February 2016
From
Fair Pricing Coalition
Activists United and Ignited by Urgency for HIV Prevention in Europe: EATG and AVAC call for the rollout of PrEP as a proven HIV prevention strategy

Initiated and organised entirely by the community of people living with and at risk for HIV, the second European HIV Prevention Summit brought together representatives of civil society, the pharmaceutical industry, researchers and academia in Brussels between 29 and 31 January. In addition to a thorough examination of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), the summit discussed the latest developments in the research fields of vaccines, rectal and vaginal microbicides and antibodies and their utility in HIV prevention.

Published
03 February 2016
From
EATG
European Medicines Agency Validates Gilead’s Type II Variation Application for Truvada for Reducing the Risk of Sexually Acquired HIV

Gilead Sciences announced today that the company’s Type II variation application for once-daily Truvada® (emtricitabine 200mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300mg) in combination with safer sex practices to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 infection among uninfected adults at high risk, a strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, has been fully validated and is now under evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Published
01 February 2016
From
Gilead press release
Merck Throws a Wrench in Drug Pricing

Volume may help Merck make up what it loses on price. AbbVie and Gilead's drugs are priced so high that many governments and insurers will only pay for them for patients that have severe liver scarring, given HCV's slow progression. Zepatier is priced at a point that could make it affordable to treat a much larger population at earlier stages of the disease.

Published
01 February 2016
From
Bloomberg
New Merck combination pill Zepatier approved for hepatitis C treatment in the United States

Merck has received a US license for its direct-acting antiviral combination of grazoprevir and elbasvir, to be marketed as Zepatier. The combination of grazoprevir (an HCV protease inhibitor)

Published
01 February 2016
By
Keith Alcorn
Gilead Faces Fights Over Hepatitis C and H.I.V. Drugs

The attorney general of Massachusetts said on Wednesday that she had opened an inquiry into whether Gilead Sciences had violated state consumer protection laws by charging too much for its hepatitis C drugs.

Published
28 January 2016
From
New York Times
Massachusetts official challenges Gilead's hepatitis C drug prices

Massachusetts' attorney general is studying whether prices of Gilead Sciences' blockbuster treatments for hepatitis C violate state law, according to a letter the prosecutor sent to the California-based drugmaker.

Published
28 January 2016
From
Reuters
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