Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Beijing stent success | COPD prevented | Private hospital investor reluctance | Generic companies head for the door

Coronary stent success in Beijing
Chinese cardiologists have come up with a novel answer to the perennial problem of late stent thrombosis with coronary stenting. To avoid  thrombus formation after the use of bare metal or drug eluting stents, Chinese researchers from the Department of Cardiology, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, have tested stents coated with biodegradable polymers. In a three-year clinical trial whose results are published in the Archives of Medical Sciences they have shown that the stents were just as effective as durable polymer coated stents in reducing major  cardiac events and have the same rate of thrombotic event rates. Biodegradable stents may have the advantage of needing less antiplatelet drug use to prevent thrombus formation they write.

Chinese trial finds new compound to prevent COPD
Another groups of Chinese researchers have come up with a solution to the difficult problem of preventing exacerbations of COPD. In a one year clinical trial carried out at 34 Chinese hospitals they tested the effects of the anti-inflammatory compound N-acetylcysteine compared to placebo in over 1000 patients with COPD.  They found there1·16 COPD exacerbations per patient-year in the treatment group and 1·49 exacerbations per patient-year in the control group. Thus N-acetylcysteine reduced exacerbations by 22%. The treatment was generally well tolerated, according to the study results published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

No rush to invest in private hospitals
In the SCMP, Zhuang Pinghui writes that investment in private hospitals on the mainland is set to rise following the relaxation of regulations,  but don't expect a gold rush- there are still many obstacles. The article says the government wants to see more private investment but private hosptals have problems claiming health insurance rebates and getting permission to buy major items of equipment such as  scanners. This means private healthcare might become just a niche product for the China's rich.

China not attractive to foreign generic companies
In Forbes, Benjamin Shorbert looks at what made one the world's biggest generic manufacturers, Actavis, quit China's $82 billion drug market. He suggests it was due to the increasing pressure on drug prices and the Chinese government's favouritism for local companies and penchant for targeting foreign pharma companies for unpleasant attention. I know things have been tough for Actavis but I think it must be a typo when he says the company only made $7 profit in China last year.

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