Spotlight: December 2023 - European Medical Journal

Spotlight: December 2023

1 Mins
GOLD looks back at some of the top pharma news stories of the past month including projections for the years ahead, new investments, pricing negotiations and more
Words by Jade Williams

4 December

A new report by GlobalData finds that cases of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are projected to grow by 4.5m in seven major markets over the next decade. Across the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Japan, numbers are expected to grow from 22m to 27m by 2032.

5 December

The new voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing, access, and growth (VPAG) comes under fire from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) for maintaining high rebate rates. While the 2024 rate is 21.9% compared to 27.5% in 2023, it is still high compared to the historical average of 10.6%. It argues that such rates have already “damaged the UK’s international standing with global life sciences companies”.

6 December

After a nine-month review, the Biden administration reveals that it can reclaim patents on certain high-priced drugs developed with federal funding. The government’s ‘march-in’ rights may be used if the drug is not available to the public on ‘reasonable terms’, the review found. However, it is not yet known what is considered reasonable and whether the administration will use these rights to increase competition and reduce drug costs.

8 December

There is new hope for 16,000 people with sickle cell disease as FDA approves Vertex and CRISPR’s gene therapy for the condition. The approval brings about a potential cure for what is a largely underserved community. It is also the first approved drug to make use of the CRISPR gene-editing system, which won its creators a Nobel Prize in 2020.

12 December

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published its first list of vital medicines whose continued supply is “particularly important”. The ‘Union list of critical medicines’ is made up of active substances from a wide range of therapeutic areas, including generics, vaccines and drugs for rare diseases. Shortages of medicines on the list could cause significant harm to patients and pose major challenges to health systems.

14 December

According to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, shareholders of seven of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies have requested information that would help them understand the impact of company policies on patient access to their branded medicines. This follows criticism that some pharma companies have extended patents in order to delay the possibility of their products being reproduced as generics.

22 December

Analysts at PwC expect the mergers and acquisitions boom that was seen in 2023 to continue into 2024. The firm expects drug makers to be more likely to strike higher-value deals in the first half of the year as they seek to address potential growth challenges arising from the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US.

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