Public Policy Dynamics Italy #9
Health and Politics in Italy
|Total COVID-19 cases:||4,044,762|
|14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:||292.8|
|Total COVID-19 deaths:||121,177|
- Italy's Covid-19 recovery plan has been submitted to the EU Commission. The Plan received final approval from the Council of Ministers on Thursday 29 April and was submitted to the European Commission on Friday 30 April, in line with the deadline. The €220 billion will be invested in skills, the creation of jobs and the launch of projects in-line with the green transition and digitisation, while around €100 billion will be allocated to southern Italy.
- Crea Sanità (Centre for economic research in healthcare) has published an analysis on access to and the use of innovative medicines, identifying the need for a general reform of governance in this field. On a political note, Health Minister Roberto Speranza 'survived' and passed three motions of no-confidence in the Senate.
- Italians seem to lack confidence in AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines, reflected by the decrease in daily administered doses. Regional data show the administration of almost all Pzifer doses, compared to only a third of J&J doses in some regions. However, this slowdown does not seem to have affected plans for re-openings. Prime Minister Draghi announced that Italy will play in advance and will introduce the green pass from mid-May to support the tourism sector.
Italy's recovery plan has been submitted to the EU Commission. The Plan received final approval from the Council of Ministers on Thursday 29 April and was submitted to the European Commission on Friday 30 April, in line with the deadline. Prime Minister Mario Draghi called it “transversal” in achieving gender equality, supporting young people and the growth of southern Italy. The plan is also accompanied by indicators for some reforms to be approved in public administration, justice, the simplification of bureaucratic procedures, and new rules for the production of energy from renewable sources. Alongside the €220 billion plan financed by the European Next Generation funds, a complementary €30.6 billion fund for infrastructure was also approved. Italy is among the first countries to submit a national recovery plan to the Commission. The €220 billion will be used to invest in skills, create jobs and launch major projects in-line with the objectives of green transition and digitisation, while around €100 billion will be allocated to southern Italy.
About health, a total of €20.23 billion has been allocated, relating in particular to Mission 6 of the Plan. The Plan, as far as health is concerned, focuses on two objectives: the strengthening of prevention and assistance on the territory, with the integration of health and social services, and the modernisation of the technological equipment of the National Health Service (SSN). It aims to strengthen the Electronic Health File and the development of telemedicine. It also supports the technical, digital and managerial skills of health system personnel, as well as promoting scientific research in the biomedical and health fields.
Crea Sanità (centre for economic research in healthcare) has published an analysis on access and use of innovative medicines, identifying the need for a general reform of governance in this field.
At the moment, there are two types of funds, the Innovative Medicines Fund (IF) and the Fund for Innovative Oncological Medicines (FIO). Both have the primary objective of ensuring patient access to innovations. In the first three years of activity (2017-2019), expenditure progressively increased, but one of the main critical points in recent times has been the gradual withdrawal of drugs from the Funds (with the risk of impacting on access to these funds). This is because 'innovativeness' is temporary for a maximum of 36 months. After that, the drugs lose their right to access the Funds, and their financing returns to "ordinary" resources. Crea Sanità suggests that a reform of the governance of innovative drugs is necessary, but in the meantime, it might be desirable to merge the two funds (innovative and innovative oncology) into a single fund.
On a political note, Health Minister Roberto Speranza 'survived' and passed the three motions of no-confidence presented against him in the Senate by the far-right opposition party Fratelli d'Italia and two members of the mixed group.
After the achievement on 29 and 30 April of 500 thousand doses administered each day, there was a return to an average of 400 thousand doses of vaccine per day. A first reason would seem to be a 'Pfizer-dependent' trend in the campaign. On average, 97.1% of Pfizer's doses were used, 74.8% of Moderna's, 70.7% of AstraZeneca's, and only 32.2% of Johnson & Johnson's doses. A lack of confidence in AstraZeneca and J&J could lead to a slowdown in the campaign achieving its objectives. This may be due to a lack of public confidence in AstraZeneca's and J&J's vaccines, following the problems encountered in some rare cases and in light of different decisions on their use by national regulatory agencies. The (distorted) perception of the limited safety of these vaccines could lead to a shift in the objectives set out in Commissioner Figliuolo's plan.
This slowdown does not seem to have changed plans for re-openings. On the contrary, Italy will run in advance of Europe in introducing the green pass, the certificate that allows those who have completed the cycle of vaccination, recovered from Covid-19, or are in possession of a negative swab performed within 48 hours before departure, to move freely. It will be available in Italy from mid-May and throughout Europe from the second half of June. Citing Draghi’s speech after the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting, the pass will allow Italian tourism to “become a sector as strong as it was before the pandemic, if not even stronger”.
More on vaccines, the leaders of the 5-Star Movement requested in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Draghi the temporary suspension in the EU of patents on Covid-19 vaccines, and to regulate the use of compulsory licenses provided in the TRIPS agreement. The rule would allow companies, in the event of no agreement with pharmaceutical companies, to proceed with the production of vaccines even without their consent upon payment of compensation.