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Ukrainian authorities stand with monopolists?



The lack of a coherent unified state policy strategy in the government leads to permanent conflicts and threatens the deterioration of relations between Ukraine and its Western partners. The discrepancy is evident in many mutually exclusive things. For example, this concerns the issues of privatization or building a sustainable economic model that will make it possible for Ukraine to become not just a democratic country, but also to have a strong economy, to pay off loans and to sustainably reform certain areas of government policy.

Privatization of state property is a common process of transition from a socialist to a capitalist system. Ukraine, which has been an independent state for more than 29 years, still retains the carryover of the socialist system. At the same time, certain periods of privatization did take place in Ukraine. That notwithstanding, immediately after the proclamation of independence, persons close to the then government and having certain benefits privatized part of the enterprises, therefore, the attitude of society to this process is ambiguous. Some people still prefers the State to keep everything in its possession.

Nevertheless, Volodymyr Zelensky, when running in the elections, spoke about privatization and the need to transfer state property to private hands. Indeed, large-scale privatization was began in 2020, which stopped after the pandemic.

Ukraine temporarily suspended large-scale privatization for 2020, - Dmytro Sennychenko, head of the State Property Fund, wrote in March.

"In the context of global economic turbulence caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, at this point we are taking a decision to refrain from putting large privatization objects and state-owned enterprises up for privatization auctions until the situation on the financial markets stabilizes," said Sennychenko.

After the statement the president said that privatization would be resumed after the pandemic.

There are a number of strategic enterprises that are also scheduled for privatization, although the attitude to privatization is ambiguous. For example, the attitude to the privatization of the state postal operator Ukrposhta is also not stable, but the management of Ukrposhta is doing everything to encourage the authorities to privatize the facility. The processes taking place in Ukrposhta in an attempt to monopolize international postal exchange and obtain the exclusive right to send international postal items through the points of international postal exchange indicate that the company ignores all the rules of anti-trust legislation.

All this is looks like a return to the old order, and this practice exists in some countries, such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. However, for Ukraine, which has set a course for integration with the European Union, it would be expedient to pursue state policy according to the standards of a market economy, without artificial monopolies. The European Union market is liberalized, so there can be no monopolies. At the same time, the quality of services at Ukrposhta can not be called exemplary, however, they are trying to take over certain segments of delivery services to avoid any competition with companies that could provide better service.

The head of JSC "Ukrposhta" is Igor Smilyansky, who, according to some media, has repeatedly been involved, in scams, and, moreover, receives a higher salary than the US president. What is more, this situation is more negative for the government in Ukraine, as such management, first of all, harms the reputation of the President and affects his approval rating, which is far from being the highest for his entire term.

Competition, as an unconditional attribute of market relations, contributes to the improvement of service and services, as any monopoly is only aimed at profit, without taking into account the views of the consumers of services.

The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine must state its clear position and do everything possible to ensure that Ukraine does not roll back to the elements of a planned economy. A legislative initiative by individual "Servants of the People" and which is intended to create privileges for Ukrposhta, should be reviewed, and this situation should be an example of how dishonest managers and individual government officials try to take advantage of advantage of power and influence the market mechanisms of the economy for their own benefits.

At the same time, private postal operators of Ukraine have unequivocally expressed their position on preventing such a scenario, and the authorities should pay attention to this. Ukrainian business creates jobs, fills the budget and helps improve the level of service, but if the State starts turning away from employers, it will be a signal for businesses and citizens to leave Ukraine.

There is hope for justice, for example, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, which has a positive reputation in the European Union, as it has been cooperating with the West for many years and does not support such initiatives. A similar position is upheld by the State Customs Service, which is successfully carrying out the reform and Ukraine's Western partners are noting progress in this direction.

Today everything depends on the extent, to which the President and the Parliament allow the cultivation of a monopoly in JSC "Ukrposhta" and whether they ignore the market rules and the standpoint of employers and taxpayers. Ukrainian political establishment is now preparing for the local elections to be held on October 25, taking into account the opinion of citizens and making changes based on their viewpoint rather than that of individual deputies who pursue individual interests.


EAPM and ESMO bring innovations to health policymakers



For the eighth year in succession, the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) has held a high-level conference series alongside the annual ESMO Congress, writes EAPM Executive Director Denis Horgan.

The EAPM conference was opened with the announcement that the following article was published and contributed to by more than 40 experts across the EU on how to bring Greater Accuracy to Europe’s Healthcare Systems: The Unexploited Potential of Biomarker Testing in Oncology.  Please click here to have access.

Sessions include: Session I: Tumor Agnostic, Session II: Biomarkers and Molecular Diagnostics, and Session III: Utilising Real-World Evidence in a health-care setting.  The conference runs from 08.00 – 16.00. Here is the link to the agenda. The conference aims to bring  key recommendations to the EU level, so as to shape the EU Beating Cancer Plan, EU health Data Space, the updating EU Pharmaceutical Strategy as well as the EU Health Union. 

The conference is held following the first State of the Union address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday (16 September) – in her first annual address, von der Leyen said the coronavirus pandemic had underlined the need for closer cooperation, stressing that people were “still suffering”.

For me, it is crystal clear – we need to build a stronger European Health Union,” she said. “And we need to strengthen our crisis preparedness and management of cross-border health threats.” Von der Leyen said her commission would try to reinforce the European Medicines Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

And she also raised the importance of the European Beating Cancer Plan as well as European Health Data Space. “This will show Europeans that our Union is there to protect all,” she said.

Fabrice Barlesi, medical director of Gustave Roussy, said: “RCTs are no longer the way to go. A way ahead could be EU support for trialing a new drug and delivering data to a centralised registry, which could give good consolidated data from across Europe.”

Divided into three sessions, the EAPM conference at the ESMO Congress, as mentioned,  dealt with such diverse issues as tumour agnostics, biomarkers and molecular diagnostics and real-world evidence in a health-care setting. Concerning cancer, specifically tumours, the congress stated that  tissue-agnostic cancer drugs are antineoplastic medicines that treat cancers based on the mutations that they display, instead of the tissue type in which they appear.

These drugs include, for example, Entrectinib, Pembrolizumab and Larotrectinib. Former Spanish health minister and MEP Dolors Moseratt highlighted her support for the work of EAPM and looks forward to getting the recommendations of the outcomes from the conference.  “The European added value of health is obvious. It would avoid duplication and enable a better allocation of resources. And it will minimize the risk of fragmented access to therapy across member states.”

And the EAPM conference is at pains to seek the best ways forward for the implementation of Real-World Evidence (RWE) into health care in Europe – looking to find consensus with key decision makers, including at member state level, not least with representatives in the European Parliament, on how to proceed in this area. RWE for health care is a simple concept – harnessing various health data in real time to help make faster and better medical decisions.

Real-World Evidence is an umbrella term for different types of health-care data that are not collected in conventional randomised controlled trials, including patient data, data from clinicians, hospital data, data from payers and social data.

Rosa Giuliani, consultant in medical oncology at the Clatterbridge Cancer Center, said: “Key elements to advance the use of TACs is to conduct dialogue that transcends silos, and to explore re-engineering of the development pathway.” And, as far as biomarkers and molecular diagnostics are concerned, a lot has been said about testing, and often the lack of it, in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak, with different countries adopting different strategies and, also, having different resources when it comes to acquiring necessary kits.

The key focus in the ESMO session was on better and more equitable access to biomarkers and molecular diagnostics across Europe.  This is a must, but, as the attendees acknowledged, we’re a long way short of it. Access to personalised medicine and new diagnostic technologies can help resolve many inefficiencies, such as trial-and-error dosing, the potential for increased hospitalisation time due to adverse drug reactions and the problem of late diagnoses. It may also enhance the effectiveness of therapies through better tailored treatment administration.

In conclusion for the morning session, Giuseppe Curigliano, associate professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Milano, and head of the division of Early Drug Development, at the European Institute of Oncology said: “A real challenge to overcome is the different endpoints between investigators and payers. Policy frameworks and co-operation is essential.” The session in the afternoon will focus on utilizing real-world evidence in a health-care setting.

A report will be available next week. 

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EU's Barnier still hopes trade deal with Britain possible, sources say




The European Union’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys to Brussels that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, diplomatic sources with the bloc told Reuters, write and

Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday (16 September) and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.

“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources.

A second diplomat, asked what Barnier said on Wednesday and whether there was still a chance for a new agreement with the UK, said: “The hope is still there.”

The first source said tentative concessions offered by the UK on fisheries - a key point of discord that has so far prevented agreement on a new EU-UK trade deal to kick in from 2021 - were “a glimmer of hope”.

Reuters reported exclusively on Tuesday (15 September) that Britain has moved to break the deadlock despite that fact that publicly London has been threatening to breach the terms of its earlier divorce deal with the bloc.

A third source, a senior EU diplomat, confirmed the UK offer but stressed it was not going far enough for the bloc to accept.

Brexit talks descended into fresh turmoil this month over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to pass new domestic laws that would undercut London’s earlier EU divorce deal, which is also aimed at protecting peace on the island of Ireland.

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned Britain that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the EU or there would be no US trade deal for the United Kingdom.

The third EU source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that the bloc would take a more rigid line in demanding a solid dispute settlement mechanism in any new UK trade deal should Johnson press ahead with the Internal Market Bill.

“There is unease about what Britain is doing but Barnier has stressed he will keep negotiating until his last breath,” said a fourth EU diplomat, highlighting the bloc’s wariness about being assigned blame should the troubled process eventually fail.

Asked about an estimate by Societe Generale bank, which put at 80% the probability of the most damaging economic split at the end of the year without a new deal to carry forward trade and business ties between the EU and the UK, the person said:

“I would put it around the same mark.”

Barnier is due to meet his UK counterpart, David Frost, around 1400 GMT in Brussels on Thursday.

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Biden warns UK on #Brexit - No trade deal unless you respect Northern Irish peace deal




US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the European Union or there would be no US trade deal, write and

“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

Johnson unveiled legislation that would break parts of the Brexit divorce treaty relating to Northern Ireland, blaming the EU for putting a revolver on the table in trade talks and trying to divide up the United Kingdom.

He says the United Kingdom has to have the ability to break parts of the 2020 Brexit treaty he signed to uphold London’s commitments under the 1998 peace deal which ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists.

The EU says any breach of the Brexit treaty could sink trade talks, propel the United Kingdom towards a messy exit when it finally leaves informal membership at the end of the year and thus complicate the border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, three diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.

“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources.

Johnson told The Sun that the EU was being “abusive” to Britain and risking four decades of partnership.

He said the UK must “ring-fence” the Brexit deal “to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions.”

Societe Generale analysts said on Thursday they now see an 80% chance that Britain and the EU will fail to strike a trade deal before the end of the year.

Biden, who has talked about the importance of his Irish heritage, retweeted a letter from Eliot Engel, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, to Johnson calling on the British leader to honour the 1998 Good Friday peace deal.

Engel urged Johnson to “abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

He called on Johnson to “ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”

Engel said Congress would not support a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom if Britain failed to uphold its commitments with Northern Ireland.

The letter was signed by Representatives Richard Neal, William Keating and Peter King.

Johnson is pushing ahead with his plan.

His government reached a deal on Wednesday (16 September) to avert a rebellion in his own party, giving parliament a say over the use of post-Brexit powers within its proposed Internal Market Bill that breaks international law.

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