Tag Archives: Healthcare Equipment & Supplies (TRBC level 3)

The Swiss-EU treaty dispute is becoming real as a shortage of medical devices draws near | Instant News

* Seamless medical equipment trade may end from 26 May

* Switzerland’s small market triggers concern over thousands of products

* Scramble for the treaty threatens Switzerland’s access to EU research funding

ZURICH, February 18 (Reuters) – Switzerland’s years of stalemate with the European Union over a stalled bilateral agreement could have an immediate real-world impact by fueling a shortage of medical devices that are now being trafficked seamlessly across borders.

Switzerland’s refusal to support the agreement – which would ensure non-member Switzerland adopts EU single market rules – could cripple the medical device trade when the industry standard collective recognition agreement (MRA) for them expires in May.

The clashes signaled erosion creeping from the uncomfortable relationship between Switzerland and the EU, its biggest trading partner which has lost Britain a member, as the network of bilateral economic agreements that froze over time becomes increasingly obsolete.

Swiss scientists fear the dispute could hinder their access to the 96 billion euro ($ 116 billion) European Union’s Horizon research program now being drafted.

The standoff could also disrupt medical supplies to the EU which is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly half of Switzerland’s exports of medical devices used in things such as surgical procedures are sent to the EU, while Switzerland imports more than $ 3 billion worth of these items annually from the EU.

The two sides have clashed before over the draft agreement, which Bern has rejected since 2018 until open points are clarified about state aid, EU citizens’ access to Swiss social benefits, and unilateral Swiss rules protecting high wages.

Playing a political ball, Brussels in 2019 refused to recognize Swiss exchange trading rules that are on par with EU standards, sparking revenge.

But disrupting the trade in devices like respirators to treat COVID-19 patients would be an entirely different matter.

“We are very concerned about the supply chain,” said Beat Egli, vice president of the Swiss association Medtech which represents a sector that employs 63,000 people.


Barring a swift deal to stop the clock, the current open market medical device trade ends when the EU switches to a new authorization regime on May 26.

Swiss manufacturers face an additional fee of around 100 million Swiss francs ($ 112 million) and a recurring fee of 75 million a year if they have to switch to an official EU representative, Swiss Medtech said.

But the bigger problem is that importing the EU’s essential products into a country of only 8.6 million people may not be worth the bureaucratic complexity of serving the Swiss market.

A Swiss Medtech survey in November found up to a quarter of all imported medical equipment – about 75,000 – could fall by the wayside, but it’s unclear for months which will disappear as suppliers and importers sort out the systems.

Even something as simple as replacement respirator parts can wreck a supply chain.

“The Swiss manufacturers are very aware that sooner or later they have to do something … but I am very concerned about the EU manufacturers. They may not know the new requirements, “said Egli of Swiss Medtech.

The lobby wants a transition period of at least 18 months to cushion the blow, but is not sure it will get that in a decision the Swiss government is preparing.

“If the MRA reforms are not adopted by May 2021, measures are being developed to mitigate the potential negative impacts,” the Federal Public Health Office said without providing any details.


The German medical sector association BVM and its allied groups have appealed for a renewal of the MRA or at least an appropriate transition period, warning that emergency, trauma and diabetes care products as well as for dialysis and chronic respiratory disease are particularly at risk.

“Especially against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it must be ensured that no supply bottlenecks arise with medical products and that care for high-risk patients is adequately guaranteed,” he said.

Bern has closed talks to revive the agreement, which has continued under new chief negotiators on both sides.

But Brussels, which has made it clear that Switzerland will not gain access to a new single market until the agreement is made, is clearly irritated by moves in Bern amid domestic opposition spanning the political spectrum.

The dispute has research institutes concerned ahead of talks about Swiss access to the Horizon scheme which will start in April or May. “Everyone wants to compete and take part at the highest levels of research, and if Switzerland is no longer part of Horizon’s funding program, it will be like being knocked out of the football Champions League,” said Detlef Guenther, vice president of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

“No longer participating in schemes like this would seriously damage Switzerland, our institutions and the economy.”

($ 1 = 0.8286 euros) ($ 1 = 0.8975 Swiss francs)

Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Edited by Toby Chopra


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Analysis: “Russian roulette” in Europe due to a shortage of syringes is preventing the COVID-19 firing | Instant News

PARIS / BERLIN (Reuters) – Laurent Fignon, a geriatric doctor in southern France, had to improvise while administering Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine shots to orphanage residents and health workers because of the proper supply of syringes. and a short syringe.

Getting six full doses from a Pfizer / BioNTech syringe – as permitted this month by European Union health regulators – requires a needle thin enough to minimize waste and long enough to deliver the injection, as needed, to the recipient’s shoulder muscle.

Fignon hospital in the Mediterranean resort of Cannes was sent syringes from French public health authorities that were too short, he said, forcing him to hunt for supplies locally. Other nearby hospitals got proper syringes and were generous enough to share several.

“For us, it is like Russian roulette,” Fignon told Reuters. “You don’t know what you will get.”

Similar shortcomings emerged elsewhere in Europe, complicating the stuttering beginnings of vaccination efforts that have been exacerbated by warnings from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, its Anglo-Swedish partner, that they will not be able to meet vaccine supply commitments any time soon.

Pfizer now predicts it will produce 2 billion doses this year, but this assumes that it will be possible to extract the full six from each bottle. It fills on a dose basis, meaning the cost of the bottle has gone up by 20%.

The European Commission is urging Pfizer and German partner BioNTech to provide more low dead space needles to extract extra doses.

BioNTech says it has purchased 50 million marketable needles to countries around the world, and is working to buy more. That compares with the EU order for up to 600 million doses of its vaccine.

Industry executives say that, while the yield of syringes is sufficient to meet current demand, chaotic ordering means they often don’t reach where they need it most. Work is underway to assess future demand and find ways to meet it, they said.

FILE PHOTOS: A vial and sryinge seen in front of the Pfizer and Biontech logos shown in the illustration taken on January 11, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo


In Germany, vaccine distribution is handled by the central government but 16 federal states are responsible for obtaining the syringes needed to inject them – with mixed results.

Some, like Baden-Wuerttemberg and Thuringia, have had the luck of ordering the right needles and syringes early on. But others, including Bavaria, Saarland and Lower Saxony, did not and had to carry out follow-up orders, officials said.

Saxony, on the Czech border, also has to shop as scarce supplies push prices up, said Lars Werthmann, regional head of vaccine logistics at the German Red Cross.

“We can’t miss a single dose at this point. And we cannot justify failure for a 5 cent syringe, “Werthmann told Reuters.

Europe’s leading injection equipment manufacturer, a private German company called B.Braun, said it was facing increased demand for syringes and other products needed for vaccination.

“With our competitors, we are currently able to meet all the demands regarding the products required for vaccination,” said spokeswoman Christine Bossek. “We are working on solutions in parallel to ensure that this will also happen in the future.”

The German medical technology industry association, BVMed, said there were no production barriers and the supply of syringes and syringes was sufficient. But chaotic orders make distribution difficult, he added, calling for better coordination.


Switzerland has ordered so-called “firing equipment” to deliver five doses per bottle. With six now permitted, it is in talks with Pfizer to supply the equipment needed to withdraw those doses, the Federal Office of Public Health said.

Officials in the UK, which have started vaccination efforts earlier, say the health team is equipped with the right injection equipment.

Back in Cannes, Fignon says he and his colleagues have managed to extract six doses from a Pfizer bottle but this will not last unless doctors get the equipment they need.

“Some countries have the right equipment from the start; we are not here in France, “he said. The French health ministry has acknowledged that extracting the sixth dose is challenging and requires specialized equipment. It said it was in the process of making sure the right syringe reached the doctor.

In addition to BioNTech’s pledge to supply syringes at a cost, Pfizer said it was in discussions with the European Commission and EU governments about their vaccination plans, including “supporting governments in securing a low supply of dead space syringes if they need them”.

Additional reporting by John Miller in Zurich, Francesco Guarascio in Brussels, Alistair Smout in London and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Written by Douglas Busvine; Edited by Nick Macfie


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UPDATE 1-Germany to start the first COVID-19 vaccination in a nursing home on 27 December | Instant News

(Adding Spahn to vaccine doses)

BERLIN, December 21 (Reuters) – Germany will start its first coronavirus vaccination at a nursing home on December 27, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday.

He welcomed the approval of the vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech by the European Medicines Agency as an important milestone in the fight against the pandemic.

“Vaccinations paved the way for us to get out of the crisis. And we are doing everything we can to take this path as quickly as possible, “said Spahn.

The federal government plans to distribute more than 1.3 million doses of the vaccine to local health authorities in 16 German states by the end of this year, Spahn said.

“In January, at least 670,000 more doses of vaccine will be distributed every week,” he said.

This means about 4 million vaccine shots should be possible in Germany in the five weeks from 27 December to 31 January. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber, edited by Tom Sims and Giles Elgood)


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Australian stocks fell on production of the COVID-19 vaccine halted, following their sixth weekly spike | Instant News

* Australia stops production of the COVID-19 vaccine

* CSL sees worst day in over 3 months

* Benchmark posts sixth consecutive weekly gain (Updates to close)

December 11 (Reuters) – Australian stocks finished lower on Friday as health care stocks dragged down after local COVID-19 vaccine production abruptly canceled, but posted a sixth straight weekly spike.

The S & P / ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 6,642.6, after slipping as much as 0.8% during the session. It ended 0.7% lower on Thursday.

Production of a COVID-19 vaccine under development by the University of Queensland (UQ) and biotech giant CSL was halted after trials showed the vaccine could interfere with HIV diagnosis.

CSL shares fell more than 3% on their worst day since September 4, while peers of Cochlear Ltd, Healius Ltd and Resmed Inc slumped between 2.8% and 3.9%.

On the other hand, the energy and gold sub-sectors strengthened, supported by stronger commodity prices.

Oil and gas stocks saw their best day in more than two weeks as crude oil prices rose 1%, extending a sharp overnight rally that saw Brent rise above $ 50 for the first time since March.

Heavyweights Woodside Petroleum Ltd, Santos Ltd and Beach Energy Ltd gained between 2.3% and 4.8%.

Miners hit new highs since April 2011, after benchmark iron ore futures on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange surged nearly 10% to break above 1,000 yuan ($ 152.95) a tonne for the first time.

Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP Group Ltd both reached their highest levels since May 2008.

Nickel and gold miner IGO Ltd saw its best day since September 2003 in a deal to buy a stake in Tianqi Lithium Corp’s Greenbushes mine after returning to trading for the first time since Monday.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S & P / NZX 50 index rose 0.5% to finish the session at 12,860.37. For the week, it ended 0.5% higher.

The top percentage winners were Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd, up 4.5%, followed by Tourism Holdings Ltd which rose 3.2%. (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)


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DASA Brasil will acquire Grupo Leforte with the acquisition of 1.8 billion | Instant News

BRASILIA, December 3 (Reuters) – Brazilian laboratory and hospital group DASA SA has signed an agreement to acquire the hospital and clinic firm Grupo Leforte for 1.77 billion reais ($ 343.6 million), it said Thursday in the securities filing.

Adding three hospitals and five clinics to its network, pending approval by anti-trust regulators, would turn Sao Paulo-based DASA into Brazil’s second-largest independent hospital network, the company said. ($ 1 = 5.1515 reais) (Reported by Anthony Boadle Editing by Chris Reese)


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