How Europe’s vaccine donations went tragically wrong

Covid vaccine equity remains out of reach, as wealthy nations drag their feet on donations, and vaccine stocks pass their use-by dates. Though Brussels was largely successful in buying billions of covid-19 vaccine doses for an entire continent, circumventing nationalist policies and bidding wars between member states, it did not have a playbook for donating […]

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Now that the patent has expired, this cancer drug is suddenly 99% cheaper

The patent on the cancer drug Revlimid (lenalidomide) recently expired. Whereas a few weeks ago a pack still cost over 4,500 euros, after generic competition this is now only about 20 euros. This means that Dutch hospitals will save over 130 million euros. Many of the main criticisms of the industry come together in this

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Amsterdam Medical Center creates ‘hijacked’ medicine

Using a set of legal tricks, the pharmaceutical industry was able to turn an animal gallic acid into a medicine that costs tons of money per year. Responsible pharmacist of the Amsterdam Medical Center Marleen Kemper and professor in metabolic diseases Carla Hollak decided in 2018 to start preparing the drug chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) for

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The outrageous pricing model used by Big Pharma

Pharmaceutical firm Novartis charges €2 million for a single intravenous infusion — but the National Health Care Institute in the Netherlands declared in April that it cannot be sold for more than €155,000. The Investigative Desk dug into how medicines can be made so expensive, and how scientists burnish their careers by earning billions for

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Brussels pressured drug regulator to approve Pfizer vaccine

Leaked documents show that the European Commission put pressure on the European Medicines Agency to approve the first Covid-19 vaccines simultaneously with the American FDA. This happened when the regulator still had serious questions about the purity of the vaccine. According to the European Medicines Agency, in a press release issued on 15 January, confidential

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Covid-19: EU countries spent over €220m stockpiling remdesivir despite lack of effectiveness

The drug’s manufacturer was aware of the negative results of the Solidarity trial before the European Commission struck a procurement deal with it, finds an investigation. On 7 October the European Commission struck a so called joint procurement framework deal with the drug manufacturer Gilead, after reports the day before of shortages of the antiviral

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‘As long as it is for free’

Most of the demand for (refresher) training courses for doctors in the Netherlands is fulfilled by industry- sponsored programmes. Even after decades  of controversy over drug companies influencing prescribing behaviour, doctors are not willing to pay for these courses themselves, according to a report of The Investigative Desk, published in the Dutch Journal of Medicine.

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From blockbuster to nichebuster

Two decades of EU market protection of ‘orphan’ (rare disease) medicines have greatly benefitted the industry. According to research by The Investigative Desk, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Dutch Journal of Medicine (NTvG), many of these ‘orphan medicines’ make billions of euros. Twenty years ago, the European Commission introduced a legislation

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EMA rewrites medicine approval policy

New innovative medicines should be made available to European citizens more quickly. That is why the European Medicines Agency updates the process for market authorisation. Anthony Humphreys sighs when asked what the new strategy means for doctors. ‘What can I possibly say?’ The former pharmacist from Ireland is responsible for EMA’s ‘Regulatory Science to 2025’

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