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Martinalbo J.,European Medicines Agency EMA | Bowen D.,European Medicines Agency EMA | Camarero J.,Spanish Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products AEMPS | Chapelin M.,European Medicines Agency EMA | And 9 more authors.
Annals of Oncology

Patient access to new cancer drugs in the EU involves centralised licensing decisions by regulators as well as reimbursement recommendations in the context of national healthcare systems. Differences in assessment criteria and evidence requirements may result in divergent decisions at central and national levels, ultimately compromising effective access to patients. Early access decisions are particularly challenging due to the limited clinical evidence available to conclude on the benefit-risk and relative (cost-) effectiveness of new high-priced cancer drugs. We describe mechanisms to accelerate approval of promising anticancer drugs that fulfil an unmet medical need, review the experience from the European Medicines Agency, compare timelines and outcomes of reimbursement decisions in major EU markets, and discuss shortcomings of the current system, ongoing initiatives, and future steps to facilitate effective early access. © The Author 2015. Source

Savarese G.,University of Naples Federico II | Perrone-Filardi P.,University of Naples Federico II | D'Amore C.,University of Naples Federico II | Vitale C.,IRCCS San Raffaele Rome | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Cardiology

Background Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4is) improve glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM); however, only few studies were properly designed to evaluate their cardiovascular (CV) effects. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of DPP-4i treatment on CV morbidity and mortality. Methods Randomized clinical trials enrolling more than 200 patients, comparing DPP-4 versus placebo or active treatments in patients with DM and reporting at least one event among all-cause and CV mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and new onset of heart failure (HF) were included in the analysis. Results Ninety-four trials enrolling 85,224 patients (median follow-up = 29 weeks) were included in the analysis. Compared to control, treatment with DPP-4i did not affect all-cause and CV mortality, as well as stroke, in the short and long terms (< and >= 29 weeks, respectively). DPP-4i reduced the risk of MI in the short (RR: 0.584 [95% CI: 0.361 to 0.943]; p = 0.028), but not in the long term. Additionally, long-term treatment with DPP-4 was associated with a 15.8% increased risk of HF (RR: 1.158 [CI: 1.011 to 1.326]; p = 0.034). No heterogeneity among studies or publication bias was detected. Conclusions DPP4is do not affect all cause-and CV-mortality and stroke in diabetic patients; the reduction in MI observed with short-term treatment does not persist in the long term. Long-term use of DPP-4i in diabetic patients is associated with increased risk of HF. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

Peuskens J.,University Psychiatric Center | Pani L.,Italian Medicines Agency AIFA | Detraux J.,University Psychiatric Center | De Hert M.,University Psychiatric Center
CNS Drugs

Since the 1970s, clinicians have increasingly become more familiar with hyperprolactinemia (HPRL) as a common adverse effect of antipsychotic medication, which remains the cornerstone of pharmacological treatment for patients with schizophrenia. Although treatment with second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) as a group is, compared with use of the first-generation antipsychotics, associated with lower prolactin (PRL) plasma levels, the detailed effects on plasma PRL levels for each of these compounds in reports often remain incomplete or inaccurate. Moreover, at this moment, no review has been published about the effect of the newly approved antipsychotics asenapine, iloperidone and lurasidone on PRL levels. The objective of this review is to describe PRL physiology; PRL measurement; diagnosis, causes, consequences and mechanisms of HPRL; incidence figures of (new-onset) HPRL with SGAs and newly approved antipsychotics in adolescent and adult patients; and revisit lingering questions regarding this hormone. A literature search, using the MEDLINE database (1966-December 2013), was conducted to identify relevant publications to report on the state of the art of HPRL and to summarize the available evidence with respect to the propensity of the SGAs and the newly approved antipsychotics to elevate PRL levels. Our review shows that although HPRL usually is defined as a sustained level of PRL above the laboratory upper limit of normal, limit values show some degree of variability in clinical reports, making the interpretation and comparison of data across studies difficult. Moreover, many reports do not provide much or any data detailing the measurement of PRL. Although the highest rates of HPRL are consistently reported in association with amisulpride, risperidone and paliperidone, while aripiprazole and quetiapine have the most favorable profile with respect to this outcome, all SGAs can induce PRL elevations, especially at the beginning of treatment, and have the potential to cause new-onset HPRL. Considering the PRL-elevating propensity of the newly approved antipsychotics, evidence seems to indicate these agents have a PRL profile comparable to that of clozapine (asenapine and iloperidone), ziprasidone and olanzapine (lurasidone). PRL elevations with antipsychotic medication generally are dose dependant. However, antipsychotics having a high potential for PRL elevation (amisulpride, risperidone and paliperidone) can have a profound impact on PRL levels even at relatively low doses, while PRL levels with antipsychotics having a minimal effect on PRL, in most cases, can remain unchanged (quetiapine) or reduce (aripiprazole) over all dosages. Although tolerance and decreases in PRL values after long-term administration of PRL-elevating antipsychotics can occur, the elevations, in most cases, remain above the upper limit of normal. PRL profiles of antipsychotics in children and adolescents seem to be the same as in adults. The hyperprolactinemic effects of antipsychotic medication are mostly correlated with their affinity for dopamine D2 receptors at the level of the anterior pituitary lactotrophs (and probably other neurotransmitter mechanisms) and their blood-brain barrier penetrating capability. Even though antipsychotics are the most common cause of pharmacologically induced HPRL, recent research has shown that HPRL can be pre-existing in a substantial portion of antipsychotic- naïve patients with first-episode psychosis or at-risk mental state. © 2014 The Author(s). Source

Pimpinella G.,Italian Medicines Agency AIFA | Tartaglia L.,Italian Medicines Agency AIFA
Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics

The new European Union (EU) regulations on pharmacovigilance require that the national systems are strengthened in order to fit the new requirements. The Italian Pharmacovigilance System, coordinated by the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), is made by local and regional structures. In 2007, a program for funding active pharmacovigilance projects in the Italian Regions was established by the National law. The AIFA is responsible for the preparation of guidelines aimed at the identification of research areas and for the approval of the projects submitted by the regions. In April 2012, the AIFA started a program of visits at the regional pharmacovigilance centers (RPCs), aimed at monitoring their performances, evaluating the quality of the activities in order to understand the main differences and discrepancies and with a view to start a program of harmonization of the procedures in place. The outcome of the visits program highlighted major differences among the quality management systems of the various centers; hence, AIFA has decided to launch an initiative to promote in the next months the harmonization of procedures. The synergy among AIFA, regional structures, RPCs, and local structure responsible for pharmacovigilance is needed in order to establish a robust pharmacovigilance system working in full compliance with the provisions of the new EU legislation. Source

Tafuri G.,Italian Medicines Agency AIFA | Tafuri G.,University Utrecht | Stolk P.,University Utrecht | Trotta F.,Italian Medicines Agency AIFA | And 4 more authors.
Annals of Oncology

Background: The process leading to a regulatory outcome is guided by factors both related and unrelated to the data package, defined in this analysis as 'formal and informal factors', respectively. The aim of this qualitative study was to analyse which formal and informal factors drive the decision-making process of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulators with regard to anticancer drugs, using in-depth semi-structured interviews with regulators of the two agencies. Methods: In line with the theory and practice of qualitative research, no set sample size was defined a priori. Respondent enrolment continued until saturation and redundancy were reached. Data were collected through means of in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted either in a face-to-face setting or via Skype® with each regulator. The interviews were audio-recorded and verbatim transcribed. The analysis was manually carried out on the transcribed text. Data were independently coded and categorized by two researchers. Interpretation of the findings emerged through a process of triangulation between the two. Results: Seven EMA and six FDA regulators, who had extensive experience with making decisions about anticancer medicines, were interviewed between April and June 2012. There is an open dialogue between the FDA and EMA, with the two moving closer and exchanging information, not opinions. Differences in decision-making between the agencies may be due to a different evaluation of end points. Different interaction modalities with industry and patients represent an additional source of divergence with a potential impact on decision-making. The key message of our respondents was that the agencies manage uncertainty in a different way: unlike the EMA, the FDA has a prevailing attitude to take risks in order to guarantee quicker access to new treatments. Conclusions: Although formal factors are the main drivers for regulatory decisions, the influence of informal factors plays an important role in the drug evaluation process. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology. All rights reserved. Source

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