19 May 2019

Netcare shares suffer after warning on prescriptive medical aids

Business Day 14 May 2019 - SA’s largest listed hospital group warns investors that margins in its hospitals and emergency-services divisions will shrink in the second half

The schemes restrict members to specific hospitals, allowing them to "shift market share in return for price discounts", said Netcare. SA’s medical aid schemes were "going to put more and more pressure on the hospital groups to be more selective  in admitting patients", said Sentio Capital portfolio manager Imtiaz Suliman. Netcare warned investors that margins in its hospitals and emergency-services divisions would shrink between 50 and 80 basis points in the second half of the financial year. For the article click here.

WATCH: What has Netcare worried about the future of healthcare

CEO Richard Friedland joined Business Day TV to discuss the plans the group has put in place to cope with the challenging environment. Click here for the interview

Doctors slam racial profiling

Sunday Independent 19 May 2019 – Medical aid schemes have been accused of discrimination

Chairperson of National Health Care Professionals Association (NHCPA), Dr Donald Gumede, accused several medical schemes of racially profiling black, Indian and coloured doctors. Gumede alleges that the schemes are unfairly targeting them by demanding they disclose private and confidential information about their patients, failure to which payments due to them are withheld. A decision was taken to institute an inquiry into the allegations. The inquiry will start in a week and will take a period of four months after which a provisional report will be issued.

Know your numbers

Sunday Independent 19 May 2019 – During the month of May South Africans can get free screening thanks to May Measurement Month

Poor blood pressure control is responsible for about 60% of strokes globally, and that 73% of the hypertensive community is not even aware that they are hypertensive. The group that is aware is not completely on treatment. 42% to 54% of south Africans suffer from hypertension.

Netcare beams in on cancer treatment to boost revenue

Sunday Times 19 May 2019 – Private hospital group Netcare has set its sights on offering the only full cancer treatment facility in SA as it searches for growth in a stagnant market.

Cindy Aitton, head of Netcare Cancer Care, said the facility would have the only Gamma Knife unit in the country. The Leksell Gamma Knife Icon is a non-invasive radiation device used to treat brain, head and neck tumours. Aitton said the unit may in future offer external beam radiation therapy, a dedicated oncology ward, a chemotherapy unit, surgery for different types of cancer and other services. "No other hospital is offering this suite of oncology services," she said. For the article click here

Drug breakthrough in SA

Saturday Star 18 May 2019 – Pertuzumab was just approved by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority, a drug to fight breast cancer

This drug not only drastically improves the chances of being cured of early stage breast cancer, but can also prolong the life of those suffering from late-stage metastatic breast cancer. Breast cancer is the type which affects SA women most. This treatment targets one specific type of breast cancer, which accounts for 20% of all breast cancer cases.

How to get South Africans to buy into the next big thing in medicine

BizCommunity 17 May 2019 - South Africa has introduced the world's first medicine-dispensing ATMs but only a fourth of patients who could be using them actually are.

In March 2018, the country rolled out the drug-dispensing units at six sites in the Free State and Gauteng, where the machines can be found in shopping malls in Alexandra, Soweto and Diepsloot. The apparatuses work just like ATMs except instead of releasing cash, they pop out medication for people with chronic conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure or HIV. For the article click here

Australian court finds GSK and Novartis misled consumers

Business Day 17 May 2019 – Court finds that subsidiaries of GlaxoSmithKline and Swiss drugmaker Novartis promoted identical liniments as though they could treat specific ills

The Australian subsidiaries of British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Swiss drugmaker Novartis misled customers and broke the law by promoting identical liniments as though they could treat specific ills, an Australian court found on Friday. The court said the companies admitted marketing Voltaren Osteo Gel as a treatment for osteoarthritis-related pain when its ingredients were the same as a cheaper Voltaren product, Emulgel. For the article click here

Red Cross warns of halt to reining in Ebola as funds dry up

Business Day 17 May 2019 - In the DRC, a fifth of about 1,700 known and suspected Ebola infections were reported in the past three weeks alone

The Red Cross warned on Thursday that critical underfunding could force it to cut vital work to rein in the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at a time when case numbers are soaring. Without more funds, it would need to begin “dramatically” scaling back its operations within two weeks, Emanuele Capobianco, health director of the International Federation of the Red Cross told reporters in Geneva. For the article click here

The battle with SA medical schemes over immunotherapy

Medical Brief 15 May 2019 - Despite rulings from the Council of Medical Aid Schemes in favour of Keytruda, medical schemes appear to be doing everything possible to avoid covering this expensive but remarkably successful treatment, writes a MedicalBrief reader.

This seems to be a common problem with members who have cancer and have to deal with not only the stress of this disease but the incredible cost burden in order to stay alive. Immunotherapy is achieving remarkable success world-wide for treating different types of cancers but our South African medical aids seem very reluctant to pay for this treatment. For the article click here

Pharmas named in major generic drug price-fixing suit

Medical Brief 15 May 2019 - Law enforcement authorities from dozens of states in the US have filed a federal complaint accusing 20 pharmaceutical companies of conspiring to hike generic drug prices

According to a NorthJersey.com report, New Jersey officials when announcing, said that costs for drugs were sometimes boosted by more than 10 times what they should have been, and that company officials, knowing they were violating the law, spoke in person or by cellphone “so as not to create a written record of their conduct.” For the article click here

Publication date: 5/20/2019