…but it does exist
Many new medicines are released and approved and marketed every year. Most of them are pseudo-innovations that are not any better than the ones already available. They tend to take care of an expiring 10-year period of ‘copyright,’ during which the manufacturer can freely dictate retail prices. Just at the end of that 10-year period the new drug would be released, which supposedly had been improved based on the experience of the overwhelming success of the market-leader ‘XYZ.’
So the new ‘XYZA’ would contain half a molecule attached to the old ‘XYZ,’ which makes it a new chemical compound upon which a new patent/copyright will be issued and a new 10-year period of paradisic ‘non-competitive’ selling lies ahead. You do not believe that? I am happy to name a few examples.
OK, ok – this is only marketing and doctors should be able to look through that. They should be capable enough to prescribe good-old, well-known ‘XYZ’ for 10 € a month instead of prescribing brand-new, mainly-unknown, ‘XYZ2’ for 60 € a month.
Why do they not do that? Maybe their wife runs a pharmacy next door! Again I would be happy to name examples.
But now let’s take a salto mortale back to medicine, because twice a year there is real innovation coming into our hands and I would like to present two.
Many people do know of or take Warfarine (UK) or Sintrom (E) or Marcumar (D) to keep their blood thinned for the most varied reasons. All of them are aware that any injury may bleed profusely, that other medicines must not be taken unless a doctor has approved, that no intramuscular injections can be given because they might be life-endangering and that they need regular blood tests once a month to check the correct dose.
The new drug Dabigatran is an oral medicine, can be given at a fixed dose and does not require laboratory monitoring. In cases of atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis, it seems comparable to, or even more effective than, Warfarine. It is available in this ‘pequeño gran país,’ but as indicated above, at a considerably more uneconomical price than Warfarine.
But: fixed dose for everybody (is that why the PSOE government has approved it?), no lab monitoring and no probs with injections – that’s why we love it too!
The second candidate is outperforming the notorious ‘the-day-after-pill.’ No, No – not the handful of Aspirins or Nurofens for a hang-over; rather the real one, once remorse has kicked in or the condom’s burst or been neglected.
Within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected intercourse, two tablets of Levonorgestrel (Postinor) would prevent in most cases the start of an undesired pregnancy.
The new Ulipristal can be used within the first 120 hours (aprox. 5 days). And it seems to prevent a pregnancy more reliably than Levonorgestrel.
Side effects are described as mild and not significantly different from the other scheme.
At the moment, as data are still preliminary, it will not be available as an over-the-counter medicine. Postinor though is available at hosptial Emergency Departments as well as pharmacies as on O.T.C. product.