2023 Digital Therapeutics Alliance Inaugural Summit: DTx Industry Leaders Gather to Transform Global Healthcare

Held at the Washington D.C. Marriott at Metro Center June 7 – 9, 2023.The 3-day Summit programming will be facilitated by leaders from all facets of the DTx industry, including policymakers, manufacturers, payors, and other experts to guide innovation and equity in healthcare.

Arlington, VA, March 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) is hosting its Inaugural Summit on June 7-9, 2023 at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center. Leaders from all facets of the digital therapeutics (DTx) ecosystem, including policymakers, clinicians, and payors, will join DTA members to discuss the challenges and opportunities of DTx integration into the healthcare system and identify optimized policy, reimbursement, and regulatory pathways to accelerate adoption.

The 3-day Summit programming will be facilitated by Andy Molnar, Chief Executive Officer of DTA, and feature keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive sessions that cover the advancement of DTx, the impact of healthcare policy, reimbursement and regulatory pathways, clinical evidence requirements, and patient access optimization.

DTA’s Chief Executive Officer, Andy Molnar states: “We are here to transform healthcare and deliver a new category of medicine to patients to improve their lives. The 2023 DTA Inaugural Summit brings together the leaders in healthcare innovation that are making these monumental changes. We are building viable frameworks with partners from Capitol Hill, the investment ecosystem, clinicians, health plans, patients, and caregivers.”

DTx products use evidence-based, clinically evaluated technologies to optimize clinical and health economic outcomes, deliver high quality therapies to underserved populations, and transform how patients understand, manage, and engage in their healthcare.

Leading into the Summit, US-focused DTA members and staff will convene in Washington D.C. to meet with congressional members and other influential parties to advocate for the Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act (S. 723 and H.R. 1458).This bill seeks to create a new benefit category for digital therapeutics and ensure permanent coverage and reimbursement of DTx products by Medicare and Medicaid.

Everett Crosland, DTA board member and Chief Commercial Officer for Cognito Therapeutics, commented, “Given the rapidly evolving reimbursement environment, DTA’s 2023 Inaugural Summit offers the DTx industry an unprecedented opportunity to engage and advocate on the issues that matter most to our companies, patients, providers, and payor partners. I’m excited to speak about the emerging frameworks that are shaping our future.”

Event details and registration: 2023 DTA Inaugural Summit 

About DTA:

The Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) is a global non-profit trade association of industry leaders and stakeholders with the mission of broadening the understanding, adoption, and integration of digital therapeutics into healthcare. DTA works to enable expanded access to high quality, evidence-based digital therapeutics for patients, clinicians, and payors to improve clinical and health economic outcomes. To learn more, please visit: www.dtxalliance.org and follow us on LinkedIn.

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Autumn Brennan
Digital Therapeutics Alliance
608-304-8000
abrennan@dtxalliance.org

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USAID, Ugandan Activists Striving to Support HIV Patients Amid Anti-Gay Bill

Uganda's former prime minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, has applauded the U.S. Agency for International Development for its support in fighting AIDS, saying the country cannot afford to treat patients on its own.

An estimated 1.2 million Ugandans aged 15 to 64 are living with HIV/AIDS and surviving on anti-retroviral drugs. Almost all HIV/AIDS patients receive the drugs through financial support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID.

Rugunda, speaking as chief guest at celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the USAID partnership with Uganda, painted a picture of what HIV/AIDS was before U.S. support.

Rugunda recalled that as the AIDS pandemic ravaged the country in the 1990s and early 2000s, the government had no means to afford treatment for patients.

"We knew that AIDS drugs had been developed and they could control AIDS in many ways. The problem we had in Uganda was the drug is there, the people are here needing the drugs, but there's a gap," Rugunda said. "How does Uganda fill the gap? The taxpayer in Uganda, even if he or she was squeezed so hard, could not fill the gap."

In more recent years, Uganda has registered significant success in the fight against HIV, as seen in reduced HIV prevalence and a decline in new infections.

USAID Uganda Mission Director Richard Nelson said his agency and its partners have prioritized HIV/AIDS for the last 20 years and are getting close to control of the epidemic, but obstacles remain.

Uganda's parliament this month passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that criminalizes identifying as LGBT, mandates life in prison for gay sex, and imposes a possible death sentence for certain homosexual acts. THe bill is awaiting President Yoweri Museveni's veto or signature.

Nelson said the bill's progress is being watched carefully because it could scare people away from seeking treatment for HIV or AIDS.

"The last remaining work that needs to be done to reach epidemic control involves some of these key populations," he said. "And so, if those key populations are unable to access services, if it's difficult for us to provide those services, it will really jeopardize our ability to reach our goals of eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030."

Even before the bill was passed by parliament, organizations providing HIV/AIDS care services were seeing people shy away from getting anti-retroviral drugs.

Henry Mukiibi, founder of one such group, Children of the Sun, spoke with VOA: "I've seen the number of people who are HIV positive, the number of people who are suppressing now is going down. Because people are in fear of getting health services in public facilities."

According to the Uganda AIDS Commission, stigma, denial, discrimination, inaction and violations of human rights continue to be major barriers to effective national responses to HIV.

Source: Voice of America

Historic win for Woodland Holdings in environmental pollution case in Seychelles’ Constitutional Court

Woodlands Holdings, a private company in Seychelles, and its director as petitioners, won an environmental pollution case against the government in the Constitutional Court on Thursday. The first time in the history of the Seychelles' judicial system for such an outcome. The matter will now be taken into consideration by the Supreme Court for the final determination on damages to be paid.

The company, which owns about 10 parcels of land situated at Fairview Estate, La Misere on Mahe, lodged a civil suit in the Supreme Court raising concerns about the effusions of waste material polluting a river close to the property owned by the Ministry of Environment in September 2018.

The director of the company, the second petitioner in the case challenged the decision of the government of Seychelles "in allowing a resident of Fairview to conduct extensive farming activities, in a residential area, to the detriment of the health of other residents. He avers that this in itself is a serious flaw in the machinery of the government which continues unabated."

In her summary for the respondents, State Counsel Corrine Rose submitted that "it is the responsibility of the person causing the pollution to take steps to it clean up and restore the environment to its prior condition before the pollution occurred and at their own expense. Although Counsel recognises that the Ministry is liable to take remedial action where a person fails to do so, she states that the onus is on the person responsible for the pollution in the first instance."

The petitioners maintain that "the state remains under a duty to fulfill the obligations to clean the pollution as provided for under Article 38 of the Constitution, and that the Respondents have committed a faute by their action/inaction or omission and consequently put the health, safety and environment of the Petitioners in danger, and which persists to date."

Rose submitted that "in view of the recognition that several pieces of legislation have been enacted with the aim of protecting and preserving the environment, this demonstrates that the State has taken measures to protect, preserve and improve the environment. Accordingly, that there is no merit in the attempt by the Petitioners arguing that there has been a breach of Article 38 that needs to be addressed in this Court."

The petitioners said that they have suffered loss and damage for which the respondents - the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Health and the Attorney General - are jointly and severally liable to the petitioners.

As such they are claiming SCR 3 million ($228,000) in damages for moral damage for the inconvenience, anxiety and emotional distress – SCR 1 million ($76,500), moral damage for risk to health, life and livelihood - SCR 1 million ($76,500), and moral damage for exposure to health risk, annoying smell and unsafe environment- SCR 1 million ($76,500).

The presiding judge of the case, Melchior Vidot, said that during the course of the plaintiff's testimony, it became clear that the allegation is that the defendants are in breach of obligations under Article 38 of the Constitution and also failed to provide the plaintiff with a clean, healthy and ecologically balanced environment.

Justice Vidot referred the case to the Constitutional Court on October 29 in 2021.

Article 38 of the Seychelles Constitution states that "the State recognises the right of every person to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy and ecologically balanced environment and with a view to ensuring the effective realisation of this right the State undertakes; to take measures to promote the protection, preservation and improvement of the environment; to ensure a sustainable socio-economic development of Seychelles by a judicious use and management of the resources of Seychelles; and to promote public awareness of the need to protect, preserve and improve the environment."

The Constitutional Court had to look into whether the obligations entrenched in Article 38 extend to the State and answered yes to all three questions asked.

The questions were whether the obligation entrenched in Article 38 extends to the State, to ensure that private citizens do not pollute the environment? Whether there is an obligation on the State to take steps to clean up any pollution caused by such citizens; and whether failure to do so may render the State liable to its citizens for damages?

With this, the case was referred to Justice Vidot to determine the petitioners' claim in accordance with the considerations and findings of the Constitutional Court.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles-US joint coast guard operation catches illegal fishing vessel with dolphin meat

A local vessel, with prohibited catch onboard, was apprehended in the waters of Seychelles during a joint maritime operation by the Seychelles Coast Guard and their United States counterpart.

On March 20, the team involved in the operation boarded the fishing vessel Fishfinder, which was not showing up on vessel monitoring system (VMS), in the vicinity of Denis Island, where it was conducting fishing activities.

Following a thorough search onboard the vessel, 19 gunny bags of suspected dolphin meat were discovered - a species that is banned from fishing in Seychelles. The vessel and the crew were apprehended and escorted back to Mahe and the confiscated items were handed over to the relevant authorities.

According to a press release from the police, the crew of the vessel comprised six Sri Lankan nationals. An investigation is ongoing on the matter.

The two-week bilateral maritime operation between the two coast guards is a result of the bilateral agreement to counter-illicit transnational maritime activity operations signed in July 2021 by the U.S. and Seychelles governments.

The agreement provided the authority for joint ship rider law enforcement and counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation operations.

The Chief of the Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette, told SNA that "through the agreement, we get to train with the U.S. Coast Guard, which is a very experienced coast guard and have a lot of personnel experienced in different fields in regards to security at sea."

He said that "the exercise itself was a fruitful one as the coast guard and special force officers used it as a training phase, and at the same time, it became a deterrent for other vessels to carry out illegal activities as they know that from time to time we have a presence at sea."

Rosette explained that right after the signing of the agreement, due to events that unfolded, the U.S. Coast Guard was unable to join its Seychelles counterpart for training.

"We took advantage of the fact that Cutlass Express was taking place in Mauritius, where the US Coast Guard was taking part. Once they complete the training they came here," said Rosette.

The U.S. Ambassador for Seychelles, Henry Jardine, who was present for the closing ceremony of the operation shared that "joint operations like the one our combined team just completed are essential to ensuring the global good that maritime security provides."

"This patrol served to help secure Seychelles's 1.4 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone. Narcotics trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal fishing are all threats to our collective safety and prosperity. Efforts like this operation are essential to combat these threats, together. We look forward to our continued collaboration in this arena to achieve this mutual goal," said Jardine.

The Seychelles Defence Forces receive a second video downlink system.

Furthermore, at a small ceremony on Thursday morning at the Seychelles Air Force base at Pointe Larue, the U.S. government handed over a second Microwave Video Downlink system (MVDS) to the Seychelles Air Force.

This system enables aircraft to transmit live video and data to personnel on the ground in real-time via a reliable and secure connection. It has been effectively used by the force in a variety of military applications such as anti-narcotic operations, boarding of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels, and search and rescue, to name a few.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

TRNUC hands over final report to Seychelles’ President

The chairperson of the Seychelles Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC), Gabriel McIntyre, handed the commission's final report to President Wavel Ramkalawan on Friday.

This was done on March 31 in conformity with the second extension granted at the end of last year by the National Assembly.

Ramkalawan handed over the report to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Roger Manciennne, who will be in charge of beginning debates on the recommendations.

The TRNUC was established in 2018 to work on settling past political divisions and grievances that were a result of the coup d'état in Seychelles on June 5, 1977.

One of the biggest concerns is the compensation that the victims are asking for.

The chairperson of the TRNUC Victims Committee, Barry Laine, said that the monetary reparations will vary from up to SCR 1 million ($77,400) for harassment and other acts to up to SCR 20 million ($1.5 million) for killing or disappearance.

"There are people who are saying that we as taxpayers should not have to pay for the damages and instead get the perpetrators to do so themselves," said Ramakalwan when accepting the document at the State House.

He added that "this is why I have decided to make the report public as of today and hand a copy to the Speaker of the National so that work is necessary now that we have the report in our hands," he said.

It was in August last year that the commission handed President Ramkalawan an interim report as the final document was yet to be completed.

Present at Friday's ceremony were the Chief of the Seychelles Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette, and the Commissioner of Police, Ted Barbe.

"It is important that we have the representatives from the Defence Forces here so that they too know what it is in the report and that those events in our history are never repeated," said the President.

Gabriel McIntyre said that now the final report is public, the commission "anticipates that it will be criticised and it accepts that such criticism is part of the course of the work of truth commission's the world over."

She said that criticism will be made regardless of its veracity and that the report will not satisfy every Seychellois.

With TRNUC's work completed six months later than usual, McIntyre said she is "extremely proud of the work achieved by the commission in exposing the past in Seychelles, of the closure it has brought to many of the complainants and of the stepping-stone it has created towards a better future for all Seychellois".

Ramkalawan said that the establishment of the TRNUC and the laws governing it was a bi-partisan act with the intention of guiding the people and bringing them together.

Now that the commission has completed its mandate and presented its report to the President, it has also issued six amnesty letters to perpetrators – who have confessed to their crimes before the TRNUC.

The work was completed later than initially planned as the commission was unable to complete its mandate, it was granted an initial extension by the National Assembly until December 2022. The government was informed in November 2022, that considerable investigative challenges meant that the commission would not be unable to complete all of its determinations under the extension granted.

Source: Seychelles News Agency