Current news update

22 April 2019

Cipla Medpro invests in health tech company Brandmed

Business Day 16 April 2019 - SA ranks as the one of the world’s unhealthiest places to live in the Indigo Wellness Index

SA pharmaceutical manufacturer Cipla Medpro, a wholly owned subsidiary of Indian generic giant Cipla, has acquired a 30% stake in local digital health company Brandmed for R65m, it announced on Tuesday. Brandmed has developed a digital system for diagnosing and managing noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and asthma. It links a Bluetooth-enabled device, such as a blood pressure cuff, to a smartphone app, which delivers regular reports to the patient’s doctor to help manage the patient’s disease. It also triggers the provision of emergency services, if the captured data signals an imminent crisis, such as a stroke.For the article click here

Medicines regulator battles to crack down on illegal medical cannabis products

Business Day 22 April 2019 - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority is working with the police to stop the sale of unregistered medicines

They have not as yet successfully prosecuted any companies or individuals breaking the law, according a senior official at the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra). It means businesses are continuing to cash-in on consumer demand for medical cannabis products, despite the regulator’s efforts to bring order to the sector. One of the most popular products is cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which proponents claim treats an array of medical conditions ranging from cancer to arthritis. For the article click here 

Clicks bucks the trend, speeds up store roll-out

Business Day 18 April 2019 - The beauty and health retailer plans to open 41 outlets this financial year.

Clicks Group is taking advantage of rising vacancies in shopping centres to accelerate its store roll-out. The beauty and health retailer, which usually opens 25 to 30 stores annually, plans to open 41 outlets during this financial year. New Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said the lethargic economy had led to more attractive retail space coming to market, giving it the opportunity to place stores in locations it had been targeting for a while. Ramsunder said the group’s long-term goal was to eventually have a national footprint of 900 stores. For the article click here 

New York will not back down on measles vaccination order

Business Day 18 April 2019 - New York City's department of health defended its mandatory measles vaccination order in a state court.

A group of anonymous Brooklyn parents sued, arguing that the order was unconstitutional. The department issued the order last week, saying it was an unusual but necessary step to contain the worst outbreak of the highly contagious virus seen in the city since 1991. The outbreak has infected 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. For the article click here 

Is the long-awaited turnaround here for Mediclinic?

Business Day 17 April 2019 - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority is working with the police to stop the sale of unregistered medicines

Mediclinic, at one point, appeared to be battling on all fronts except its Southern African division. But its Swiss operation Hirslanden is emerging intact from a period of major regulatory change; and the Middle East has steadied with margins there expected to move up to 14% for 2020, from its current 13%. Only its investment in UK group Spire healthcare continues to look sickly. For the article click here

Drug reduces kidney failure in diabetics

BizCommunity 17 April 2019 - Canagliflozin, a drug approved to lower glucose levels in diabetic patients, can slow the progression of kidney disease

A new landmark clinical trial shows that a drug lowers the risk of kidney failure by a third in people with Type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. For the article click here 

Alleged corruption at HPCSA a symptom of incompetence — Solidarity

Medical Brief 17 April 2019 - The Solidarity Occupational Guild for Health Practitioners has strongly condemned the alleged corruption in the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSCA)

This could lead to unqualified doctors and nurses unlawfully getting accreditation. The occupational guild added that this corruption and inefficiency were endemic to all state-related institutions, and that uncertainty regarding qualifications will continue until private medical training and accreditation becomes possible. For the article click here 

Collaboration and teamwork could improve South Africa's health system

BizCommunity 17 April 2019 - The World Health Organisation has identified interprofessional education as being fundamental in preparing health professionals to work in teams.

South Africa's public health system has many shortcomings. This is why it’s more important than ever that health and care professionals like doctors, nurses and social workers learn to work together as a team. For the article click here 

Discovery cancer patient numbers nearly doubled since 2010

Medical Brief 17 April 2019 - The number of Discovery Health Medical Scheme members receiving treatment for cancer has increased by 99% since 2010

The scheme’s membership numbers have only increased by 24% over that time. “This indicates a combination of increasing incidence of cancer as well as anti-selection,” Discovery said. Anti-selection refers to people who join a scheme with the intention of making a claim. For the article click here 

Mediclinic warns of falling margins in Southern Africa

Business Day 17 April 2019 - CEO Dr Ronnie van der Merwe says the group’s results for are ‘‘in line with market expectations in a challenging healthcare environment’

Private clinic and hospital group Mediclinic International says margins in Southern Africa and Switzerland fell in the year to end-March and will probably decline again in the year ahead. For the article click here

Scientists 3D print heart made of human tissue

BizCommunity 16 April 2019 - Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel have 3D printed a small heart using human tissue

This breakthrough, according to Haaretz, they hope could one day render organ donation obsolete. The technology is still many years out from human transplants, though - the team's rodent-sized printed heart isn't quite there yet. For the article click here 

Pharma unit sales lifts Johnson & Johnson

Business Day 16 April 2019 – Sales from the business, which accounts for more than half of the company’s total revenue, rose 4.1% and beat quarterly profit estimates

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) beat quarterly profit estimates on higher sales at its pharmaceuticals unit even as it faces fierce competition for some of its biggest drugs, sending the company’s shares up more than 2%. For the article click here

Pharmaceutical manufacturers resist calls for transparency on medicine prices

Business Day 16 April 2019 - Activists’ single-minded focus on price could backfire, says International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations

Activists stepped up their campaign ahead of the Fair Pricing Forum convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Johannesburg last week, which sought to determine how to balance the competing demands of affordability with the need to incentivise the industry to continue to invest in developing new medicines. “Price transparency potentially risks price convergence, which would mean some countries would pay rather more [than they do at present]”, said IFPMA director-general Thomas Cueni in a phone interview with Business Day this week. For the article click here

Measles cases up four-fold in first quarter compared to 2018

Business Day 16 April 2019 - The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 against the same period last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, citing provisional data.

Higher rates of the preventable but contagious disease — which can kill a child or leave it blind, deaf or brain-damaged — have been recorded in all regions, the UN agency said in a statement, appealing for better vaccination coverage. Fresh outbreaks have hit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, “causing many deaths — mostly among young children”, the WHO said. For the article click here

Publication date: 4/22/2019