New Medicines (new + medicine)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Interstitial Cystitis and the Therapeutic Effect of Suplatast Tosilate

LUTS, Issue 2009
Painful bladder syndrome (PBS)/interstitial cystitis (IC) can be a chronic and debilitating disease characterized by urinary urgency, frequency, and bladder pain, which are often very difficult to treat, regardless of currently-proposed treatments. Suplatast tosilate (IPD-1151T) is an immunoregulator that suppresses Th2 cytokine production, immunoglobulin E (IgE) synthesis, chemical mediator release from mast cells, and eosinophilic recruitment. In a preliminary, open-label clinical study of IPD-1151T in 14 women with IC, treatment with IPD-1151T significantly increased bladder capacity and decreased urinary urgency, urinary frequency, and lower abdominal pain, as measured by the IC symptom index, in patients with non-ulcerative IC. A concomitant reduction in immunological parameters (eosinophils, IgE, and urine T cells) was observed. Also, in basic experimental studies using hydrochloric acid-induced chronic cystitis rats, the oral administration of IPD-1151T (0.1,100 mg/kg/day) for 7 days after the induction of cystitis dose dependently increased the intercontraction intervals and micturition volume. In addition, the infiltration of mast cells and eosinophils into the bladder was suppressed by IPD-1151T. These findings suggest that IPD-1151T could be a new medicine for treating debilitating symptoms, such as bladder pain and urinary frequency in PBS/IC. [source]

Role of medicines in malaria control and elimination

Marian Warsame
Abstract Antimalarial medicines constitute important tools to cure and prevent malaria infections, thereby averting death and disability; their role in reducing the transmission of malaria is becoming increasingly important. Effective medicines that are currently available include artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for uncomplicated malaria, parenteral and rectal formulations of artemisinin derivatives and quinine injectables for severe malaria, and primaquine as an anti-relapse agent. These medicines are not optimal, however, owing to safety considerations in specific risk groups, complex regimens, and less than optimal formulations. The efficacy of antimalarial medicines including currently used ACTs is threatened by parasite resistance. Resistance to artemisinins has recently been identified at the Cambodia,Thailand border. Intermittent preventive treatment is constrained by the lack of a replacement for sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Despite increasing financial support to procure medicines, access to medicines by populations at risk of malaria, particularly in African countries, remains poor. This is largely due to weak health systems that are unable to deliver quality diagnostics and medicines through an efficient supply chain system, close at hand to the sick patient, especially in remote rural areas. Health systems are also challenged by incorrect prescribing practices in the informal and often unregulated private sector (an important provider of medicines for malaria) and the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard medicines. The provision of a more equitable access to life-saving medicines requires no less than a steady drug development pipeline for new medicines tailored to meet the challenging conditions in endemic countries, ideally single dose, highly effective against both disease and relapse-causing parasites and infective forms, extremely safe and with a long shelf life, and made available at affordable prices. Drug Dev Res 71: 4,11, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Managing the entry of new medicines in the National Health Service: health authority experiences and prospects for primary care groups and trusts

Ruth McDonald BA MSc PhD
Abstract For the most part, the management of new medicines in the NHS has hitherto been a matter for local discretion. The result is that access to medicines is often determined by where a patient lives, as opposed to some nationally agreed clinical criteria. This ,postcode prescribing' has led to widespread variations in access to medicines and concerns about the resulting inequalities. Primary care groups and trusts are expected to reduce variations in access to care, whilst at the same time balancing their finances, since any overspends on prescribing must be covered by disinvestment in hospital and community services. We interviewed 21 health authority (HA) prescribing advisers to ascertain how they viewed the managed entry of new medicines in order to identify lessons for PCGs. In addition, we report the views of local prescribing managers on the potential impact of recent government policy changes on the process and speculate on the likely implications of these for primary care groups and trusts. What is clear from the study is that HAs often have no explicit objective in relation to new medicines, but that their desire to act is prompted by fears of overspending on prescribing budgets. The danger of this approach is that patients may be denied cost-effective treatments since all new medicines are seen as a problem. It seems likely that PCG/Ts will face the same dilemmas with which the HA advisers in our study have been wrestling for some time. Recent policy changes in relation to prescribing budgets and new medicines are likely to exacerbate these problems. The tensions between local priority setting, which may mean saying no to new medicines, whilst at the same time eradicating postcode prescribing and balancing budgets means that PCG/Ts face difficult policy choices. [source]

Factors affecting the uptake of new medicines in secondary care , a literature review

D. Chauhan BPharm MRPharmS MSc
Summary Background and Objective:, The rate of uptake of new medicines in the UK is slower than in many other OECD countries. The majority of new medicines are introduced initially in secondary care and prescribed by specialists. However, the reasons for relatively low precribing levels are poorly understood. This review explores the determinants of uptake of new medicines in secondary care. Methods:, Nine electronic databases were searched covering the period 1992,2006. Once the searches had been run, records were downloaded and those which evaluated uptake of new medicines in secondary care were identified. UK studies were of primary interest, although research conducted in other countries was also reviewed if relevant. With the exception of ,think pieces', eligibility was not limited by study design. Studies published in languages other than English were excluded from the review. Determinants of uptake in secondary care were classified using Bonair and Persson's typology for determinants of the diffusion of innovation. Results:, Almost 1400 records were screened for eligibility, and 29 studies were included in the review. Prescribing of new medicines in secondary care was found to be subject to a number of interacting influences. The support structures which exist within secondary care facilitate access to other colleagues and shape prescribing practices. Clinical trial investigators and physicians who sit on decision-making bodies such as Drug and Therapeutic Committees (DTCs) appear to have a special influence due to their proximity to their research and understanding of evidence base. Pharmaceutical representatives may also influence prescribing decisions through funding of meetings and academic detailing, but clinicians are wary of potential bias. Little evidence on the influence of patients upon prescribing decisions was identified. The impact of clinical guidelines has been variable. Some guidelines have significantly increased the uptake of new medicines, but others have had little discernible impact despite extensive dissemination. However given the increasing influence of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, guidelines may become more important. The impact of financial prescribing incentives on secondary care prescribing is unclear. Although cost and budget may influence hospital prescribing of new drugs, they are of secondary importance to the safety and effectiveness profile of the medicine. If a drug has a novel mechanism of action, or belongs to a class with few alternatives, clinicians are more likely to consider it favourably as a prescribing option. Conclusions:, Although price does not appear to be a primary factor behind prescribing decision-making, in secondary care there has long been a historical need for formal purchasing decisions through the DTC, which differentiates it from primary care. This, in addition to increasing pressures for cost-effectiveness within the NHS means that cost will appear more frequently on clinician consciousness. As a result, guidelines are more likely to be implemented using the strong professional networks in existence within secondary care, and although the influence of patients has not been addressed by the literature, they are likely to have an increasing input into the prescribing decision, given the importance of patient involvement in current UK policy. [source]

A quantitative approach to benefit-risk assessment of medicines , part 1: the development of a new model using multi-criteria decision analysis,

Filip Mussen PhD
Abstract Purpose One of the most important uses of benefit-risk assessment pertains to approval of new medicines by regulatory authorities and the subsequent review of these products during their life-cycle when new safety and/or efficacy data becomes available. At present, there exist no validated, well-accepted models for benefit-risk assessment that have the appropriate degree of sophistication, and as a consequence no models are widely used by regulatory authorities or industry. The aim of the study was therefore to develop a new model for benefit-risk assessment of medicines using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). Methods The MCDA methodology was used for a systematic approach to assess the benefit risk ratio of medicines. The reasons for adopting this approach were (1) taking multiple benefit and risk criteria into account, (2) making a judgement on the evidence and potential uncertainty because of the incompleteness of evidence, and (3) making trade-offs of the benefits against risks. Results It was demonstrated through a seven-step approach how MCDA is used to construct the model. Ten benefit and ten risk criteria were identified to form a value tree. Then fixed scales were established for all criteria and options on the criteria were scored. Weights were assigned for each criteria using swing-weighting. Finally sensitivity analysis was carried. Conclusions This novel approach based on MCDA has the potential for being applied as a new tool for judging and deciding on the benefits and risks, thereby helping regulators and industry in the development and approval of new medicines and their adequate use. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The Kennedy report: appraising the value of innovative medicines

PRESCRIBER, Issue 3 2010
MRPharmS, Steve Chaplin MSc
Steve Chaplin outlines the recommendations made by Professor Sir Ian Kennedy in his recent report on the appraisal of innovative new medicines. Copyright © 2010 Wiley Interface Ltd [source]

Latest news and product developments

PRESCRIBER, Issue 2 2008
Article first published online: 11 FEB 200
NICE should evaluate all new medicines NICE should determine the cost effectiveness of all new medicines, the Health Select Committee has concluded in its second review of the Institute. The review, prompted by criticisms from patients, health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry, found that NICE is doing ,a vital job in difficult circumstances'. The Committee called for the costs to carers and society to be included in cost effectiveness estimates (this is currently prohibited) and for cost per QALY thresholds to be aligned with NHS affordability. NICE should publish brief appraisals at the time of a product launch , these could be used to negotiate prices. GPs responsible for unlicensed co-proxamol GPs who prescribe co-proxamol are now responsible for the consequences, the MHRA warns. The Agency agrees that the drug may be needed by ,a small group of patients who are likely to find it very difficult to change from co-proxamol or where alternatives appear not to be effective or suitable'. Following the withdrawal of product licences, stock that is currently in the supply chain may be dispensed but no new stock should be released by suppliers. The Drug Tariff price of co-proxamol has now increased from £2.79 to £20.36 per 100 tablets. Vitamin D deficiency on the increase Pregnant and breastfeeding women may need vitamin D supplements, the Department of Health has warned, and GPs are seeing increasing numbers of patients with vitamin D deficiency. Endogenous synthesis may be low in some ethnic groups and dark-skinned people, and north of Birmingham there is no light of the appropriate wavelength for the synthesis of vitamin D during the winter. The Department says free vitamin supplements are available for eligible patients through its Healthy Start Scheme ( and may also be supplied at low cost by some PCTs. Innovation and good practice recognised Innovative practice and better outcomes for patients have been recognised through awards from the NHS Alliance and Improvement Foundation presented by the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Alan Johnson, at the annual NHS Alliance conference held in Manchester. The Mountwood Surgery in Northwood, Middlesex, won the CHD QOF GP Practice Award sponsored by Schering Plough for their outstanding multidisciplinary approach to tackling CHD. In addition to having a highly organised in-house cardiology team, they have produced an interactive, patient-empowering booklet for CHD. Mountwood Surgery achieved blood pressure targets of 96.79 per cent in their CHD patients. North Tees PCT wins the CHD QOF PCO Award, also sponsored by Schering Plough, for their support and encouragement to GP practices to ,own' CHD care. They provide timely feedback of performance data using funnel plots and regular communication by the CHD LIT and Cardiac Network. Even though North Tees PCT has a high CHD prevalence, 4.2 per cent vs 3.6 per cent nationally, across the 27 practices 85 per cent of patients achieved cholesterol targets and 91 per cent reached the QOF blood pressure target. The St Benedict's Hospice Day Centre Project (for the Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust) won the Guy Rotherham Award for its excellent multidisciplinary team improvement of the palliative care provided. This team demonstrated a thorough understanding of the use of quality improvement methods to improve patient care, and carefully measured the individual improvements they made. Through the use of a referral ,decision tree', nonattenders were reduced by 300 per cent and average waiting times halved. The Extended Primary Care (EPC) Gynaecology Service (for the Practice Based Commissioning Consortium South Manchester Hub) was highly commended for its development of an effective and innovative service offering gynaecological treatment managed within a primary care setting, allowing patients improved access closer to home. The Salford Perinatal Mental Health Project was also highly commended for effectively challenging the high levels of maternal suicides. The awards were also supported by Prescriber, the British Cardiac Patients Association and the British Cardiac Society. Anastrozole superior to tamoxifen in long term A new analysis of the ATAC trial (Lancet Oncology 2008;9:45-53) shows that the advantages of the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole (Arimidex) over tamoxifen as adjuvant therapy for breast cancer persist for at least four years after the end of treatment. After primary treatment with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, postmenopausal women with localised invasive breast cancer were randomised to five years' treatment with anastrozole or tamoxifen. Among 5216 women who were hormone-receptor positive, anastrozole increased disease-free survival by 15 per cent after 100 months. Time to recurrence and distant recurrence were also increased, though overall survival was similar; the absolute difference in time to recurrence was greater at nine years (4.8 per cent) than at five years (2.8 per cent). Joint symptoms and fractures were more frequent with anastrozole during treatment but not thereafter. Use a steroid with a LABA , MHRA reminder The MHRA has reminded clinicians that patients treated with an inhaled long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) should also use an inhaled steroid. In the latest edition of Drug Safety Update (2008;1:No.6), the Agency reviews the implications of the SMART study (Chest 2006;129:15-26), which reported an increased risk of respiratory- and asthma-related deaths among patients using salmeterol (Serevent). This is contradicted by epidemiological data suggesting that asthma-related admissions have declined since LABAs were introduced. Randomised trials also do not support such a risk, probably because inhaled steroids are used more consistently in trial settings. The latest Update notes that product licences for carisoprodol (Carisoma) have been suspended due to concerns about the risk of abuse and psychomotor effects. It also includes a comprehensive summary of drug interactions with statins, a warning that methylene blue should not be prescribed for a patient taking a drug with serotonergic activity, and a reminder that only oral formulations of desmopressin are now licensed for primary nocturnal enuresis. This issue of Update is available at Copyright © 2008 Wiley Interface Ltd [source]

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PRESCRIBER, Issue 12 2007
Article first published online: 4 OCT 200
NAO: GPs still not prescribing efficiently The National Audit Office (NAO) says NHS funds are being wasted through inefficient GP prescribing and patients not taking their medicines. The NAO's long-awaited report, Prescribing Costs in Primary Care (, found large variations between PCTs in generic prescribing of statins, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-II antagonists, and protonpump inhibitors; PCTs were also paying widely differing prices for these products. There was a five-fold variation in prescribing volume for clopidogrel between PCTs. These four drugs accounted for only 19 per cent of total spending but, if all practices matched the performance of the best 25 per cent, the NHS would save £200 million annually. PCTs should do more to rationalise prescribing and support their GPs, the NAO concludes. The NAO says that the cost of medicines dispensed for but not taken by patients lies somewhere in the range £100-£800 million annually. Strategies to reduce waste include public awareness campaigns and restricting supplies to four weeks (or two weeks for new medicines). Rosiglitazone may increase CV death risk A meta-analysis of 42 clinical trials has suggested that rosiglitazone is associated with increased risks of myocardial infarction (MI) and cardiovascular death (N Engl J Med 2007; published online 21 May: doi 10.1056/ NEJMoa072761). Like the COX-2 inhibitors, rosiglitazone was licensed without determining its possible effects on long-term cardiovascular outcomes, and interpretation of the latest findings is complicated by the multiple comparisons involved. For risk of MI, there was no significant difference between rosiglitazone and placebo (though this was of borderline statistical signifi-cance , p=0.07), metformin, sulphonylureas or insulin. Rosiglitazone was associated with a statistically significant 43 per cent increased risk compared with all comparators combined but the absolute increase in risk was very small (0.02 per cent). The trends were similar for risk of cardiovascular death, though rosiglitazone was associated with a 64 per cent increased risk compared with all comparators combined that was of borderline statistical significance (p=0.06). The authors acknowledge that their analysis pooled short-term studies that excluded patients at risk of heart disease and was not designed to determine cardiovascular outcomes, and they had no access to patientlevel data; as a result, there is uncertainty about their findings. Nevertheless, they say there is now an urgent need to clarify the risk associated with rosiglitazone. GlaxoSmithKline has rebutted the findings, stating that the cardiovascular risk profile of rosiglitazone is comparable with that of other oral antidiabetic drugs. The MHRA says warnings in the current SPCs for Avandia and Avandamet already reflect most of the data in the latest US review. The possible effects of rosiglitazone on cardiovascular events is currently being evaluated in the Rosiglitazone Evaluated for Cardiac Outcomes and Regulation of glycaemia in Diabetes (RECORD) study. Good management tool The Department of Health has published a disease management tool to enable PCTs to model local interventions that could reduce emergency admissions. The web-based ,voluntary good practice tool' will demonstrate how interventions in primary care and social care settings can improve the management of long-term conditions including cardiovascular disease, asthma and COPD, and dementia and depression. Counterfeit medicines The MHRA has issued an unprecedented three alerts about fake medicines in the legitimate supply chain, recalling all affected lot numbers. Three batches of Zyprexa 10mg tablets (olanzapine) were withdrawn after a company printing labels became suspicious and alerted Eli Lilly. Two of the batches, which contained 60 per cent of the stated active ingredient, had reached patients but no adverse events were reported. Two lots of parallel-imported Plavix 75mg tablets (clopidogrel) have been withdrawn after counterfeit packs were identified. The lots were in French original packaging but will have been overlabelled for the UK market. The counterfeits were mixed with genuine packs from Sanofi-Aventis. Fake Casodex 50mg tablets (bicalutamide) have been identified in a parallel import from France. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society reports that the fake contains 75 per cent of the stated dose of bicalutamide. Alcohol-free mometasone Schering-plough has introduced an alcohol-free formulation of mometasone furoate nasal spray (Nasonex) for hay fever. The company says that an alcohol vehicle causes nasal irritation and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste, adding that over 40 per cent of patients cite this as the main reason for stopping treatment, and over 50 per cent state a preference for an alcohol-free product. Aid to improve statin adherence Adherence to statin therapy can be improved if patients use a decision aid when they are offered treatment,US investigators say (Arch Intern Med 2007;167:1076-82). The decision aid estimated the individual's 10-year cardiovascular risk and the risk reduction from treatment, and summarised the disadvantages of statins.Patients with diabetes who used the aid knew more about their risk and were less indecisive about treatment than those who did not. The odds of having missed a dose over three months were three times higher for patients who had not used the aid. Online tool calculates switch savings A new online tool can help GPs estimate the savings achievable from switching patients to cheaper medicines. The Switch Saving Calculator, developed by the Prescribing Analysis & Support Team at the NHS Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre in Newcastle, calculates potential savings based on past, current or projected use of the target drug. It can be applied to individual prescribers or scaled up to practice, commissioning group, PCT, health authority or even national level. Separate calculators are available for primary and secondary care. The current version calculates potential savings by switching from atorvastatin to simvastatin. The Newcastle team says other drugs will be added and they will update prices regularly. The calculator is at switch_saving_calculator/switch_saving_calculator.html. No improvement in drug information for patients leaving hospital The information given to patients discharged from hospital is not improving, according to the Healthcare Commission's annual patient survey ( The 2006 survey found that the commonest reason patients were kept waiting for at least four hours to leave hospital was the delay in providing discharge medicines. Provision of written information increased from 62 per cent of patients in 2005 to 65 per cent in 2006. However, only 76 per cent said they had been told about their medicines in a way they could ,completely' understand (79 per cent in 2002). The proportion of patients reporting complete information about sideeffects also fell (from 40 per cent in 2005 to 37 per cent). Aspirin in preeclampsia A new meta-analysis has found that primary prevention with low-dose aspirin modestly but consistently reduces the risk of preeclampsia (Lancet 2007; published online 18 May). The study of 31 trials involving 32 217 women at low to moderate risk found that antiplatelet agents (mostly aspirin) reduced the risk of pre-eclampsia and preterm birth by 10 per cent without an increased risk of bleeding. The benefit was similar across subgroups. There were also nonsignificant reductions in the risk of small for age, stillborn and death before discharge. New from NICE NICE approves varenicline for NHS NICE has endorsed the use of varenicline (Champix) as an aid to smoking cessation within the NHS for England and Wales; it has already been approved for use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium. Varenicline is a partial agonist at the ,4,2 nicotinic receptor. It alleviates craving and withdrawal symptoms, and reduces the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking. The commonest adverse effect is mild to moderate nausea, which improves with time.1 Varenicline is licensed for smoking cessation in adults; NICE says it should be offered as an option for smokers who say they want to quit as part of a programme of behavioural support. However, treatment should not be withheld if counselling and support are not available. NICE was critical of manufacturer Pfizer's economic arguments in favour of varenicline, which inappropriately included US data, assumed a single quit attempt and may have overestimated its efficacy. It nonetheless concluded that varenicline is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or bupropion (Zyban) in achieving continuous abstinence. NICE estimated that, compared with NRT, the odds of abstinence at one year with varenicline were 54 per cent greater. A Cochrane review1 concluded that abstinence was 66 per cent more likely with varenicline than with bupropion, and three times more likely than with placebo. There was also a benefit from offering smokers a wider choice of treatments. A 12-week course of varenicline costs £163.80; it is also licensed for an additional 12-week course and dose tapering may be considered for those at high risk of relapse. The final appraisal determination does not state which is the treatment of first choice for smoking cessation. NICE is currently preparing guidance on smoking cessation in pri-mary care, pharmacies and workplaces. Copyright © 2007 Wiley Interface Ltd [source]

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PRESCRIBER, Issue 5 2007
Article first published online: 16 MAY 200
OFT wants PPRS reform The Office of Fair Trading ( says reform of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulatory Scheme (PPRS) would allow the NHS to re- invest £500 million in drugs it needs. Its investigation of the 50- year-old PPRS concludes that the scheme does not reflect the therapeutic value of drugs and, while providing a financial safety net for the industry, it mitigates against innovation. The OFT believes drugs should be priced according to their therapeutic value based on their cost effectiveness. Analyses would be fast- tracked for new drugs or, if there are insufficient data, a risk-sharing scheme should be adopted. The ABPI insists that its medicines offer the NHS value for money and believes the OFT's proposal for drug- by-drug pricing would delay access to new medicines. Switching saves money and is problem free Switching to cheaper alternatives within a drug class does not affect the quality of care and offers substantial savings, say UK researchers (Int J Clin Pract 2007;61:15-23). They switched selected patients from atorvastatin (Lipitor) to simvastatin and from losartan (Cozaar) to candesartan (Amias). Exclusion criteria included previous unsuccessful use, poor control of lipids or blood pressure, contraindications and potential drug interactions. In 70 patients switched to simvastatin, there was no change in mean total cholesterol after four months; one patient reverted to atorvastatin due to adverse effects. Of 115 switched to candesartan, seven reverted to losartan; in the remainder, blood pressure was slightly reduced after four months. The switch was not associated with adverse effects. Savings for the year 2005/06 were estimated at £12 716 for statins and £13 374 for antihypertensive drugs. Scotland gets donepezil for mild to moderate AD The Scottish Medicines Consortium (www.scottish has approved the use of orodispersible donepezil (Aricept Evess) for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease in NHS Scotland. The decision conflicts with NICE advice that the drug is not appropriate for patients with mild disease. The SMC has not approved rimonabant (Acomplia) as adjunctive treatment for obese patients. Adherence threatens anticoagulation Patients find it difficult to adhere to anticoagulant treatment ,significantly impairing the quality of anticoagulation, US investigators have shown (Arch Intern Med 2007;167:229-35). Using electronic containers to monitor dose adherence over 32 weeks in 136 patients, they found that 92 per cent opened the container at least once too often or too little and one-third missed 20 per cent of scheduled openings. Patients with less than 20 per cent adherence were twice as likely to be undercoagulated compared with adherent patients. Those with overadherence were overcoagulated. Hypo risk greatest with glibenclamide Glibenclamide is associated with a significantly greater risk of hypoglycaemic events than other secretagogues, a new systematic review has concluded (Diabetes Care 2007;30:389-94). The review of 21 randomised trials found that the risk of experiencing at least one hypoglycaemic event was 52 per cent greater with glibenclamide compared with other secretagogues and 83 per cent greater than with other sulphonylureas. In three comparative trials with insulin, there was no significant difference in the risk of hypoglycaemia (though this could not be excluded) but only insulin was associated with weight gain. Glibenclamide was not associated with significantly increased risks of cardiovascular events, weight gain or death. Few major hypoglycaemic events were reported in these trials. Drug groups implicated in ADR admissions Four classes of drugs account for half of hospital admissions for adverse reactions, according to a new systematic review (Br J Clin Pharmacol 2007;63:136-47). Antiplatelet agents (16 per cent of admissions), diuretics (16 per cent), NSAIDs (11 per cent) and anticoagulants (8 per cent) were implicated in drug- related admissions according to a review of nine studies. Analysis of five studies also showed that adherence problems were associated with one-third of drug-related admissions. The authors suggest that focussing resources in these areas could substantially reduce admissions. Value of pharmacist MUR questioned Pharmacist medicines use review (MUR) for older patients does not reduce hospital readmission and is not cost effective by current standards, according to a study from Norfolk (Pharmacoeconomics 2007;25:171-80). A total of 872 patients aged over 80 who had been admitted as an emergency and discharged taking two or more drugs were randomised to MUR by a pharmacist or usual care. The pharmacist visited twice, providing education, removing out-of-date drugs and checking for adverse effects, interactions and the need for compliance aids. After six months, the admissions rate was not reduced among patients who received MUR and quality of life was not significantly improved. The estimated cost per QALY gained was £54 454 , above the conventional threshold for cost effectiveness of £30 000. MHRA review of LABAs The MHRA has clarified which aspects of long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) are being addressed in its current review. This full review of salmeterol (Serevent) and formoterol, following advice issued in December last year, will consider recent research, whether the two agents differ significantly, dose-response relationships, the effect of concurrent treatment with inhaled steroid and how they are used in practice. Manufacturers have been asked to provide data by the end of March. Interventions for weight gain in schizophrenia There is not enough evidence to support the use of drugs to reduce weight gain associated with schizophrenia, a new Cochrane review has found (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005148. DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD005148.pub2). Noting a lack of adequate trials, the review found that cognitive/behavioural interventions effectively prevented weight gain by a mean of 3.4kg and reduced established weight gain by a mean of 1.7kg. Drugs prevented weight gain by about 1.2kg. Switching anti-TNFs An analysis of a UK rheumatoid arthritis (RA) registry has shown that patients who stop treatment with their first anti-TNF agent should be switched to a second (Arthr Rheum 2007;56:13-20). Every UK patient with RA who receives an anti-TNF agent is included in the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register. Analysis of this database identified 6739 patients who started treatment, of whom 841 stopped within 15 months due to lack of efficacy and 1023 due to toxicity. Of these, 503 and 353 respectively were switched to another anti- TNF agent. Overall, 73 per cent of patients remained on their second drug by the end of follow-up, but patients were two to three times more likely to stop their second treatment for the same reason they discontinued their first. Copyright © 2007 Wiley Interface Ltd [source]

Intellectual Property Rights in Bilateral Investment Treaties and Access to Medicines: The Case of Latin America

Rosa Castro Bernieri
The link between intellectual property protection and access to medicines has been studied from different perspectives. After signing the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, most developing and least developed countries agreed to protect pharmaceutical products under the patent system. Beyond the criticisms of this system as an incentive mechanism to encourage private investment in research and development, it is widely acknowledged that a balance must exist between its benefits and costs. The patent system interaction with public health policies is twofold: providing incentives to develop new medicines, on the one hand, and increasing the prices of medicines, on the other. The TRIPS Agreement, the Doha Declaration and the subsequent Decision on Implementation of Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration all recognized this important trade-off. Different effects prevail in each interest group or country and negotiations of international intellectual property right (IPR) standards reflect this conflict. Nevertheless, the post-TRIPS scenario is full of new bilateral and regional agreements. The old bilateral investment treaties (BITS) are evolving towards new forms of all-encompassing arrangements that include intellectual property and liberalization of trade and services, apart from the classical rules for investment protection. This trend imposes a new landscape in IPR protection: one in which the above-described balance might be inclining towards one side. This article analyzes some legal, political and economic features of this new generation of BITS in Latin America. [source]

Principles of pharmacoeconomics and their impact on strategic imperatives of pharmaceutical research and development

József Bodrogi
The importance of evidence-based health policy is widely acknowledged among health care professionals, patients and politicians. Health care resources available for medical procedures, including pharmaceuticals, are limited all over the world. Economic evaluations help to alleviate the burden of scarce resources by improving the allocative efficiency of health care financing. Reimbursement of new medicines is subject to their cost-effectiveness and affordability in more and more countries. There are three major approaches to calculate the cost-effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals. Economic analyses alongside pivotal clinical trials are often inconclusive due to the suboptimal collection of economic data and protocol-driven costs. The major limitation of observational naturalistic economic evaluations is the selection bias and that they can be conducted only after registration and reimbursement. Economic modelling is routinely used to predict the cost-effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals for reimbursement purposes. Accuracy of cost-effectiveness estimates depends on the quality of input variables; validity of surrogate end points; and appropriateness of modelling assumptions, including model structure, time horizon and sophistication of the model to differentiate clinically and economically meaningful outcomes. These economic evaluation methods are not mutually exclusive; in practice, economic analyses often combine data collection alongside clinical trials or observational studies with modelling. The need for pharmacoeconomic evidence has fundamentally changed the strategic imperatives of research and development (R&D). Therefore, professionals in pharmaceutical R&D have to be familiar with the principles of pharmacoeconomics, including the selection of health policy-relevant comparators, analytical techniques, measurement of health gain by quality-adjusted life-years and strategic pricing of pharmaceuticals. [source]

Animal models in urological disease and sexual dysfunction

Gordon McMurray
There are several conditions associated with dysfunction of the lower urinary tract or which result in a reduction in the ability to engage in satisfactory sexual function and result in significant bother to sufferers, partners and/or carers. This review describes some of the animal models that may be used to discover safe and effective medicines with which to treat them. While alpha adrenoceptor antagonists and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors deliver improvement in symptom relief in benign prostatic hyperplasia sufferers, the availability of efficacious and well-tolerated medicines to treat incontinence is less well served. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) has no approved medical therapy in the United States and overactive bladder (OAB) therapy is limited to treatment with muscarinic antagonists (anti-muscarinics). SUI and OAB are characterised by high prevalence, a growing ageing population and a strong desire from sufferers and physicians for more effective treatment options. High patient numbers with low presentation rates characterizes sexual dysfunction in men and women. The introduction of ViagraŌ in 1998 for treating male erectile dysfunction and the success of the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor class (PDE5 inhibitor) have indicated the willingness of sufferers to seek treatment when an effective alternative to injections and devices is available. The main value of preclinical models in discovering new medicines is to predict clinical outcomes. This translation can be established relatively easily in areas of medicine where there are a large number of drugs with different underlying pharmacological mechanisms in clinical usage. However, apart from, for example, the use of PDE5 inhibitors to treat male erectile dysfunction and the use of anti-muscarinics to treat OAB, this clinical information is limited. Therefore, current confidence in existing preclinical models is based on our understanding of the biochemical, physiological, pathophysiological and psychological mechanisms underlying the conditions in humans and how they are reflected in preclinical models. Confidence in both the models used and the pharmacological data generated is reinforced if different models of related aspects of the same disorder generate confirmatory data. However, these models will only be fully validated in retrospect once the pharmacological agents they have helped identify are tested in humans. British Journal of Pharmacology (2006) 147, S62,S79. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706630 [source]

The responsibility of the pharmaceutical industry

C. Durrant
The pharmaceutical industry plays an active role in policy surrounding the research, discovery and development of new medicines. Along with this commitment, the pharmaceutical industry must also take an active role in helping to ensure that appropriate patients receive access to state-of-the-art scientific advancements. The various players involved in drug development and introduction, including the pharmaceutical industry, clinicians, advocacy groups and regulatory bodies, need to work together to ensure patient access to quality care. While issues such as drug acquisition costs and marketing are often given a high profile, this may cloud perceptions of the industry's commitment to deliver important new medicines to the patients and healthcare systems that need them. [source]