26 May 2019

Six-year medicine waiting list threatens lives

Saturday Star 25 May 2019 – There are 16 000 medicines on the waiting list to be approved for use in South Africa

This waiting list is forcing patients to import the drugs they need from overseas at great cost. Half of these drugs have been sitting on the waiting list for more than five years. Portia Nkambule, acting chief executive of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) said they were committed to clearing the application backlog within the next two years.

Regulator contradicts itself over health bills

Sunday Times 26 May 2019 – A change at the regulator that would enforce appeal decisions.

Legal experts say that previously the Council for Medical Schemes would enforce appeal decisions, even if a second appeal was underway. Schemes would then have to fund claims whilst the second appeal was being conducted. However, this is no longer the case. CMS spokesperson Grace Khoza says the Council could not enforce rulings if a second appeal had been lodged. Her comment contradicts registrar Sipho Kabane, who has said under oath in legal documents that the Council’s interpretation is that the decision of its appeal board must be enforced, even in the face of a new appeal.

Celebrate Bipolar Awareness Day

Sunday Independent 26 May 2019 – Today is Bipolar Awareness Day.

According to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) bipolar disorder affects 1% of the population. That percentage accounts for 579 992 South Africans. It is a mental illness involving episodes of serious mania and depression. Compliance and acceptance is the most important aspects to controlling the condition.

Mediclinic set to roll out more day clinics

Business Day 23 May 2019 – The private clinic and hospital group says there is a shift from inpatients to outpatients

Private clinic and hospital group Mediclinic International intends to build six more day clinics in the next two years, CEO Ronnie van der Merwe said on Thursday. The group said day clinics are a new growth area. “The broader economic environment in Southern Africa at the moment is rather weak. We have not seen much change in the medical aid population. From our perspective, our focus is very much towards the day case clinics,” van der Merwe said. For the article click here

Mediclinic’s R7.4bn impairments drag it to another loss

Business Day 23 May 2019 – Mediclinic International says it made another annual loss after writing down the value of its investments in UK-based Spire Healthcare Group and Switzerland’s Hirslanden by a combined £405m (R7.4bn).

In the UK, Mediclinic has been grappling with lower revenues from state patients funded by the National Health Service, while regulatory changes in Switzerland mean some treatments have been shifted from in-patient stays to less lucrative outpatient visits. The private healthcare group made a reported loss of £151m in the year to end-March, from a loss of £492m previously, as it recorded a non-cash impairment charge on its investment in Spire of £164m and a £241m impairment linked to Hirslanden. For the article click here

Experts claim that Big Pharma hides true drug development costs

Medical Brief 22 May 2019 - In SA, cancer patients pay exorbitant prices to stay alive, Bhekisisa reports. And loopholes to SA’s patent laws are among the reasons medicine prices are this high.

The report says drug companies use the cost of researching and developing new medicines to justify their high prices. However, a study this this year found few links between the two. The research included 99 cancer drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over about 30 years and revealed that companies coined about R200 for every rand spent on research and development – a ratio the authors say is unfair, even after they considered a reward for innovation. For the article click here

HPCSA welcomes SIU investigation

BizCommunity 21 May 2019 - The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has welcomed the proclamation by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Special Investigative Unit's (SIU) investigation into alleged unlawful or improper conduct by employees of the HPCSA.

This follows a report by the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) appointed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in 2015, to investigate allegations of administrative irregularities, mismanagement and poor governance at the HPCSA. The MTT report of the investigations, which was released by Motsoaledi in October 2015, found the HPCSA to be in a state of multi-system organisational dysfunction, which resulted in the failure of the organisation to deliver effectively and efficiently on its primary objects and functions, in terms of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974. For the article click here

AI better at detecting lung cancer than humans

Biz Community 21 May 2019 - Artificial intelligence (AI) can outperform human evaluation in detecting lung cancer accurately from computed tomography scans.

As an alternative to chest X-rays, healthcare professionals have recently been using computed tomography (CT) scans to screen for lung cancer. In fact, some scientists argue that CT scans are superior to X-rays for lung cancer detection, and research has shown that low-dose CT (LDCT) in particular has reduced lung cancer deaths by 20%. For the article click here

Aspen to raise R1.9bn by selling a portfolio of products

Business Day 20 May 2019 – Drugmaker, whose shares have more than halved since September 2018 on concerns that the group has too much debt, will use the proceeds to reduce gearing

In December, Aspen entered into a distribution agreement with Mylan subsidiary Alphapharm regarding the portfolio of prescription and over-the-counter products sold mainly in Australia and New Zealand. Mylan was also given an option to buy the portfolio. Aspen said on Monday Mylan will buy the portfolio for a maximum consideration of 188-million Australian dollar, of which 93-million Australian dollar is payable by the end of May, 30-million Australian dollar is due in January 2020, and up to 65-million Australian dollar is payable in September 2020. For the article click here

Publication date: 5/27/2019