FC Barcelona has completed its first big signing of the summer, with an agreement reached over the transfer of Chilean player Alexis Sánchez (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The news was announced late last night that the young forward, of 22 years, will arrive in Barcelona from his home country next weekend to sign the contract that will see the Catalan team pay Sánchez's current side Udinese €26 million plus an additional €11.5 in variable extras. The arrival of Sánchez confirms the move of Bojan Krkic to Roma - he will sign for five years with the Italian side, although Barça will have the option to buy him back during the first two of those years. Roma is paying Barça €12 million for the player.
At a meeting yesterday of the Spanish health minister, Leire Pajín, with the health ministers from the different autonomous communities, it was agreed to cut €2 billion from spending on prescriptions and to negotiate additional funding for the health services in each of the communities (read article in Catalan here, Avui).The first objective will see an increase in the number of prescriptions written for medications based on their principal active ingredient, known as generic medications, rather than on the commercial name (or brand) of a particular product. Another measure that will affect the medicines is that there will be a price reduction of 15 percent on those that have been registered for more than 10 years and don't have a generic equivalent. Writing prescriptions based on principal active ingredients is already common practice in some communities including Catalunya and Andalucia, the two regions where it is most frequently done. At the end of 2010, doctors in these areas were prescribing generic medicines in around 33 percent of cases, compared to 6.3 percent 10 years ago. At a national level, the average at the end of last year was only 7.5 percent of the total medications prescribed. In Catalunya, while it is a recommendation rather than an obligation for doctors to prescribe generic medications, they receive incentives to do so. At yesterday's meeting, it was also agreed to create a selection committee for medications that would provide cost-efficiency reports about the use of new medications.
The Spanish government is today due to approve plans for a major shake-up in the country's legal system, that would see the responsibility for investigating crimes pass from judges to lawyers (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The new Law on Criminal Trials will see Spain move towards a US-style process for such trials implying a significant, and costly, change in the way such crimes are dealt with here. While the opposition Partido Popular is not in favour of such a change, concerned about the trustworthiness of lawyers compared to judges, mainly because they are not appointed by the government (in Spain, judges are funcionarios or civil servants), the Socialist government regards the change as essential. It cites efficiency and better rights for all as two of the reasons behind the new law. The Justice minister, Francisco Caamaño, has also said that the lawyers will be working under the overview of judges, who will continue to initiate investigations, ensure that those involved in such invest have their rights defended and will be responsible for authorising activities that put those rights at risk, such as telephone bugging, in advance.