Friday, 17 December 2021

Rijeka JGL Pharmaceutical Company Developing Rhinovirus Spray

December the 17th, 2021 - The well known Rijeka JGL pharmaceutical company has been busy developing an innovative cold spray which various substances targetting rhinovirus, the predominant cause of colds in humans, which haven't ever been used before.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Rijeka JGL pharmaceutical company has teamed up in a partnership with the Centre for Proteomics of the Medical Faculty in Rijeka and with the scientific support of Biosens from Zagreb. This togetherness has resulted in the developing of an innovative ''Rino'' cold spray, with substances that have never been used in nasal sprays previously. The total value of the project stands at a massive 34.9 million kuna, and it is being co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of 13.87 million kuna.

"This is a step forward for our company, since for the first time we're developing the product from the very beginning with substances that haven't been used in nasal sprays before, and which contribute to reducing the symptoms and progression of colds caused by rhinovirus, which is why we called it Rino spray. The project is also important because, as part of the strategy of ''smart specialisation'' of the Republic of Croatia, the thematic priority area "Health and Quality of Life" was chosen as one of the five key areas for the development of the Croatian economy.

With this project, we want to strengthen the position of our country, position ourselves as a European centre for the development and production of innovative health products through cooperation between production and research capacities of the private and public sector,'' said Masa Safundzic Kucuk, the director of research and development at the Rijeka JGL pharmaceutical company who is also the project manager. She also said that thanks to the help of the aforementioned fund, such projects don't put much pressure on the company's normal operations.

In-vitro product concept validation activities are underway to prove its safety and effectiveness, and experts from JGL and the Rijeka Medical Faculty are hoping for a roaring success in their product which will target the pesky rhinovirus, which is all too common of a bedfellow in winter.

"A team of scientists from the Centre for Proteomics of the Medical Faculty in Rijeka has been conducting scientific research in the field of immunology, virology, as well as research of new vector vaccines and immunotherapeutics, it's also participating in numerous national and international scientific projects with ambitious biotech and pharmaceutical companies like JGL. I'm convinced that the continuation of cooperation between the Faculty of Medicine and the Rijeka JGL pharmaceutical company on projects like this, as well as the expansion of cooperation in the direction of developing new immunotherapeutics will be of strategic interest to both partners.

Achieving this goal requires not only new investments through joint projects but also a vision of development based on the use of basic research results in creating new therapies or medical procedures,'' said Stipan Jonjic, head of the Department of Histology and Embryology and head of the Centre for Proteomics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Rijeka.

For more, check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Pfizer Withdrawing Some Medication, Croatian Patients Advised to Contact GPs

October the 6th, 2021 - The name Pfizer might now be well and truly synonymous with the coronavirus vaccine, but the company is long standing and produces many medications. One of them is about to be withdrawn from the Croatian market, and as such, Croatian patients who usually take it need to contact their GPs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a very well-known drug is being withdrawn from the market, the Croatian Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices reported on Monday.

Two batches of the drug Champix, produced by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, are being withdrawn. The drug is used to help adults stop smoking, and given the size of the smoking issue here, Croatian patients who are using the drug should give their family doctors a call to be made aware of what they need to do to continue with their therapies.

"In the Republic of Croatia, there are no other batches of these drugs that aren't affected by this, it's the same situation with other drugs which contain the active substance varenicline. Therefore, we instruct all users of this medicine to contact their doctor sregarding the continuation of their therapy,'' the Agency stated.

As the marketing authorisation holder for Champix, Pfizer, in cooperation with the Agency, is withdrawing from the Croatian market, the following batches of the following pharmaceutical forms of this medicine are set to be no more:

- batch 00023401 of Champix 1 mg film-coated tablets

- batch 00022025 of Champix 0.5 mg and 1 mg film-coated tablets (the pack to start with this therapy).

“The withdrawal is being carried out to the wholesale level. The withdrawal procedure is being carried out due to the increased level of nitrosamine contaminants in the medicinal product compared to the acceptable levels of intake prescribed in the European Union (EU). Based on the available data, there is currently no risk for patients taking this medicine,'' the Agency concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Varaždin County Gets 3 Non-Emergency Medical Transport Vehicles Worth HRK1M

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Varaždin County's department of emergency medicine on Tuesday was provided with three new vehicles for non-emergency patient transport, and this procurement was worth about a million kuna (€133,000).

During the vehicle takeover ceremony, County Prefect Anđelko Stričak said that emergency medicine, fire-fighters, the police, the army, the civil protection units and mountain rescue service were the essential elements of homeland security.

Stričak said that the county's department of emergency medicine had 41 vans in its fleet, and 32 of those vehicles were for non-emergency medical transport while nine were ambulances.

Annually, 65,000 patients use the services of this transport, and the vehicles in this department's fleet cover 1.3 million kilometres. The department registers about 10,500 emergency interventions and cover some 230,000 kilometres during the provision of urgent medical aid.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Tuesday, 28 September 2021

MEP Says Croatia Fares Poorly in Terms of Access to Legal, Safe Abortion

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - Compared to other countries, Croatia fares poorly in terms of access to legal and safe abortion, a Croatian member of the European Parliament, Social Democrat Predrag Matić, said on the occasion of International Safe Abortion Day and the presentation of the Abortion Atlas.

"The Abortion Atlas is a new tool that gives an overview of countries according to the availability of abortion, and more importantly, the kind of obstacles women across Europe encounter in terms of access to abortion. Croatia is in the lower section of the ladder in that regard, with the situation considered as poor. Even though abortion in Croatia is legal, we have a problem with practical obstacles to access to abortion," Matić said, as quoted by his office.

The Abortion Atlas, authored by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is the first comprehensive interactive map with data on access to abortion in Europe.

It ranks 52 countries in terms of their legislative frameworks, access and availability of abortion, abortion-related medical care and available public information on abortion.

Croatia is in the lower part of the ranking, with a score of 60%, and it belongs among countries with a poor rating concerning legal and safe abortion. Of the EU member-countries, the best-ranked are Sweden and the Netherlands while Malta and Poland are worst-ranked.

"Access to abortion in the EU has been prevented due to a number of administrative and imposed medical obstacles and conditions such as compulsory counselling, compulsory additional medical tests and a compulsory waiting period," said Matić, a member of the EP's Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee and author of an EP resolution on the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU.

The obstacles are unjustified and most citizens advocate access to abortion, Matić said, citing the latest survey on the topic in Croatia, in which 81% of the respondents supported the right to abortion while as many as 63% said that pregnancy termination must be free of charge, which makes abortion truly available regardless of one's geographical and socioeconomic status, Matić's office said.

Matić also recalled an extremely dangerous trend among gynecologists in Croatia, with 186 or 60% of the 322 gynecologists employed in hospitals across the country refusing to perform abortion.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Croatian Chamber of Nurses Distances Itself From Unscientific Views on Vaccination

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Nurses (HKMS) has distanced itself from unscientific and unprofessional views on vaccination against COVID-19, spread by some of the nurses.

"A large number of nurses have been vaccinated, notably 72 percent of them, and the Chamber once again calls on all nurses to get vaccinated and thus protect their health and the health of their patients," the HKMS said in a statement on Tuesday.

The dissemination of untrue and scientifically uncorroborated information, especially when it comes from nurses, makes the fight against the epidemic and efforts to increase the vaccination rate difficult and undermines trust in the healthcare system, it added.

The HKMS stressed the importance of vaccination as the only effective way to overcome the epidemic and get life back to normal.

Many of our nurse colleagues treat hospitalised patients for serious forms of COVID-19 and many of them see their patients, most of whom have not been vaccinated, die, the HKMS said, reminding nurses that "nursing is a medical profession and our public discourse must be based on the results of medical science."

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 20 September 2021

VetHealth is Croatian Dermocosmetic Product for Animals Without THC

September the 20th, 2021 - Back during the very warm final days of August this year, oil with CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol) intended for the treatment of animals was presented. Meet an interesting Croatian dermocosmetic product - VetHealth.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the producers are the Istrian veterinarian Igor Bencic and the company Canna Trade from Porec, led by Karlo Kovacic. This oil is a registered Croatian dermocosmetic product, is vegan, laboratory tested, free of gluten and other allergens, and it's even free of THC (psychoactive substance from hemp).

"Given that we've been following research in the field of cannabis and cannabinoids for years now, and we cooperate with companies that engage in that research, it wasn't difficult to determine the direction in which we wanted to go in,'' said project manager Andrea Gudac.

While all are concentrated on the so-called ''full spectrum oil'' whose products contain a hemp extract which then dissolves in the base of another oil (such as that from olives), they opted for what's known as broad spectrum.

“VetHealth is broad spectrum where the exact amount of certain cannabinoids is put into the base to make the composition of the product as reliable as possible. While full spectrum contains up to 0.2 percent THC, vroad spectrum lacks it, meaning that it's actually THC free. VetHealth is currently the only broad spectrum in Croatia, with 8, 16 and 24 percent cannabidiol and cannabigerol.

Igor Bencic participated in the formulation of the product, and he has also participated in the VetHealth project from the very beginning and understood the benefits of cannabinoids properly. Thus, he is the first veterinarian in all of Croatia to introduce broad spectrum into complete therapy in animals,'' explained Gudac.

VetHealth as a product in the distribution part was taken over by Phoenix Pharmacy, one of the largest veterinary wholesalers, and in cooperation with them, they're also educating veterinarians on how best to determine therapies.

Oil n More is a cosmetic part of the story of the manufacturer Canna Trade, more precisely oil with CBD intended for the beauty world. After several well-known brands introduced creams, lotions, toothpastes with hemp, they realised that something that really contains CBD is missing.

“If we need something for an animal's claws, and we need to prevent a problem, then we'll put something out onto the market which does actually help, and not just nurture. In addition to nourishing the claws, it's great for massaging the paws and is effective in combating fungus. Our oil contains exclusively organic and raw materials, and it is produced according to the GMP standard, which means that it is completely safe for human use as well,'' explained Gudac.

They are present here on the Croatian market, and are in negotiations to expand further to Europe - Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. Both products are made in Croatia, and the raw material is procured exclusively organic and certified by an authorised distributor.

"So far, we aren't able to buy raw materials in Croatia, but we hope that the new regulations will soon allow us to do something like that. The VetHealth project already required a large investment, and the process itself took a year and a half. Oil n More is a newer project and has just seen the light of day, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have big plans for it. That's followed by additional facial care products after eyebrow and eyelash treatment, followed by a nourishing cream.

Work on the new line is an investment that will run through 2021 and 2022, and in addition to product placement, we want to focus on education, and this includes lectures, but also congresses for the veterinary profession,'' stated Andrea Gudac.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Certain Medication to be Withdrawn from Croatian Pharmacies

September the 16th, 2021 - Croatian pharmacies are set to be without a certain medication following a German pharmaceutical giant announcing that all of it is set to be withdrawn, leaving some unfortunate Croatian patients without their prescribed therapies.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the German pharmaceutical giant Sandoz has announced that it is withdrawing all batches of the drug Bromergon 2.5 mg tablets with the active substance bromocriptine from the Republic of Croatia, the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices reported recently.

The withdrawal of this medication, which is used by many, is being carried out to the level of pharmacies, according to Sandoz, the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical company that is part of the well known Swiss giant Novartis.

After the withdrawal, bromocriptine drugs will unfortunately not be available on the Croatian market at all, so the Agency has invited all patients who were obtaining this medicine from Croatian pharmacies to please contact their doctors/general practitioners immediately regarding the continuation of the therapy they need for their illnesses.

Those batches of medicinal products are being withdrawn for regulatory reasons which prescribe that a particular medicinal product may be placed on the market for a maximum of eighteen months after their expiry or the revocation of their marketing authorisation, if the product doesn't expire of its own accord at an earlier date than that.

''No other drugs with the active substance bromocriptine in them are available on the market in the Republic of Croatia at all. Therefore, we're instructing all users of this medicine to contact their doctors regarding the continuation of their therapy,'' they pointed out from the Medicines Agency.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Dijana Zadravec Presents Her Evidence of Corruption in a Zagreb Hospital

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - The National Anti-Corruption Council on Tuesday interviewed the dismissed head of the radiology ward of Zagreb's Sisters of Charity Hospital, Dijana Zadravec, who presented her evidence of criminal activities used to siphon money from the hospital.

Zadravec, who has been on sick leave since May, told members of that parliamentary body that she learned yesterday from the media that acting hospital director Zoran Vatavuk had given her a warning before dismissal for harming the hospital's reputation, noting that the hospital's reputation was harmed by corruption and those who committed and covered it up.

Zadravec said that her fight against corruption started in 2016, when her persecution and harassment started as well.

She said that as the deputy hospital head she reported in 2016 the charging of fictitious overtime work which the then director Mario Zovak had covered up, adding that she had reported this to the prosecutorial authorities and the Health Ministry.

Zadravec said that in late 2020 she discovered a criminal network at the hospital, with public money being siphoned by doctors, which was why she reported them for abuse of office.

The doctor, who claims to have extensive documentation proving her allegations, says that offers to suppliers with whom the hospital did business without public tenders, since the last public tender was conducted in 2019, were signed by doctors Vladimir Kalousek and Branimir Čule, and that the offers exceeded HRK 30 million.

She also cited cases when less material was used for operations than the quantity ordered from suppliers.

Commenting on Zadravec's allegations, the State Secretary and chair of the Sisters of Charity Hospital Steering Board, Tomislav Dulibić, said that hospital documentation was being checked by inspectors from the health and finance ministries and the HZZO health insurance agency.

"According to preliminary information, no significant departures have been found, except for some minor irregularities. Eleven inspectors are working on this, invite them to testify," Dulibić told the Anti-Corruption Council.

He said that the decision to carry out the inspection at the hospital was made a couple of weeks ago, noting that the relevant proceedings were underway.

The chair of the Anti-Corruption Council, Nikola Grmoja, asked if anyone had responded to Zadravec's claims, to which Zadravec said that after she reported the false charging of overtime work, Health Ministry inspectors were called in and concluded that the matter should be investigated by the hospital director.

Allegations should be investigated as soon as possible 

After conducting the interviews today, the Anti-Corruption Council adopted a conclusion asking the ministries of health, finances and economy as well as the prosecutorial authorities and the USKOK anti-corruption office to determine facts related to the case as soon as possible.

Zadravec was told to submit copies of the reports she had sent to the competent authorities as well as the text message in which, she claims, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković lobbied for Zovak's reappointment as the hospital head.

The Anti-Corruption Council will send the audio recording of today's hearing to the prosecutorial authorities, and it will ask the Health Ministry to submit all documents on inspections conducted at the hospital since 2016 or explain why no inspections were conducted.

The Council will also ask the government to secure additional conditions for the employment of financial investigators at courts in four big cities.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Zagreb to be Included in Producing DNA Templates

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - The head of the Zagreb-based Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić,  said on Friday that the European Commission would in future be authorised for the purchase and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine and that Zagreb would be one of the centres included in producing DNA templates.

That means that only mRNA vaccines will be used in the EU, not because the AstraZeneca vaccine is not of a good quality but to ensure secure production and the possibility of responding quickly to new variants of the virus given that a vaccine can be produced within 100 days, said Markotić.

In addition to a high level of antibodies that remain for about six months, it is worthwhile developing cell immunity, which need not be the case with certain vaccines, she said.

"In 2022 and 2023, Zagreb will be one of the centres that will be included in the phase of producing DNA templates, which is important for Croatia's tradition and for Zagreb regarding the production of vaccines," she underscored.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Feasibility Study For Hospital Project in Osijek to be Prepared

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The 35 million kuna contract on the elaboration of a feasibility study for the construction of a new complex housing the hospital centre in Osijek was signed on Tuesday in that biggest eastern Croatian city.

The document on preparing the feasibility study was signed by Health Minister Vili Beroš, the Osijek Hospital Centre head, Željko Zubčić and the representative of the consortium of bidders. As many as 30 million kuna will be provided from European funds, whereas the health ministry will cover the remaining 5.2 million.

Regional Development and EU Funds minister, Nataša Tramišak, said at the contract-signing ceremony that the co-funding from the EU funds was ensured through the "Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem" project.

She said that the construction of the future hospital centre was estimated at two billion kuna, and the exact sum would be known after the Osijek hospital centre provided full information.

Zubčić said that the new hospital centre "is a greenfield investment", and would be built at a new location. He said that the new hospital complex "is a necessity for Osijek and Croatia's east.

The elaboration of the feasibility study is expected to take a year.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.



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