Press review

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France launches campaign to boost use of generics

Country : France, Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
PARIS, Sep 22 (APM) - Thursday’s Le Parisien (p2) reported that the French government has launched a communication campaign to promote the use of generics.
It is aimed at bolstering confidence in those medicines, with the aim that they will contribute substantially to savings in the healthcare budget, which a target of 1.2 to 1.3 billion euros in 2018.
According to French public healthcare insurance Assurance maladie, generics are prescribed in only 45.5% of cases where a substitution is possible, even if significant progress has been made in recent years, with France catching up with levels reached in Germany.
But the paper points out that 26% of prescribers are still reluctant to prescribe generics and 28% of patients are reluctant to take them.
Hospitals, which are seen as not prescribing generics in sufficient quantities, are a key target of the campaign.

Unpublished report underlines need for further studies on risks of aluminum in vaccines

On Friday, Le Parisien (p2) says that an official report received by the French health minister in March, but never published, concluded there is an urgent need for further studies of the risks related to the presence of aluminium based adjuvants in vaccines.
As the subject is in the spotlight with the extension of mandatory vaccinations that will come into force early in 2018, Le Parisien noted the report is all but against the measure. It outlined the biological toxicity of aluminum revealed in animals.
The head of French medicine agency ANSM, Dominique Martin, is quoted in the report as supporting the need for in depth studies over the matter, calling the government to "take its responsibilities".
Questioned by the newspaper, an official source from the government said this document and its publication "didn’t change anything" in the decision that was taken to extend mandatory vaccinations.

Levothyrox 'too often oversubscribed'

On Wednesday, Le Monde (Science and Medicine supplement, p4) reported an investigation showing thyroid treatment Levothyrox, currently caught up in controversy related to the safety of its new formulation, is too often overprescribed.
It said sales of the drug have risen nine fold since 1990, detailing how this product "has become so popular".
It added that this overprescription problem is not limited to this product, but reveals deep dysfunctions in the marketing and promotion of drugs in France.
On the same day, Le Figaro (p11) also published an article on the matter, noting more than 2,150 cases of severe side effects have been reported to date to health authorities, with an explosion of reports since the scandal was first revealed in the press.

Allergan signs deal with Native American tribe to maintain Restasis dominance

Wednesday’s Le Monde (Economy and Enterprises supplement, p2) reported on the deal between Allergan and the Native American tribe Saint Regis Mohawk, that will prevent the marketing of generics of its flagship eye drops Restasis.
This deal, which will see the tribe receiving an initial payment of $13.75 million, plus $15 million in annual royalties, will prevent the commercialisation of generics of the products until 2024.
Restasis is one of the most important products of the company, with annual sales of close to $1.5 billion.

Bayer pulls Essure contraception implants from the market

Tuesday’s Les Echos (brief p17) and Le Parisien (brief p12) reported on Bayer’s decision to halt marketing of its contraception implants Essure in all countries except in the U.S., including in Europe.
On Wednesday, Le Figaro (website), as well as Le Monde (p11) reminded that this decision comes as sales of the products were already suspended for three months in early August.
Le Figaro added Jospeh Oudin, the lawyer representing hundreds of women who have suffered from severe side effects and filed complaints against the company, were very satisfied with this announcement.
It also underlined Bayer insisted this decision was not related to the safety of the product.

Onxeo plans rebound after failure in hepatic cancer

Tuesday’s Les Echos (p27) reported on biotech Onxeo's plans to bounce back after the failure of its lead compound Livatag in a Phase III study in liver cancer.
"We have the resources to rebound," chief executive Judith Gréciet told the paper.
Gréciet added that the company will now study in depth the results of the study before taking any strategic decision about the product.
She pointed out the company has sufficient cash reserves (27.7 million euros at the end of June), so it does not have to rush this process, also noting Onxeo has two other key compounds in its pipeline.

Multi-resistant infections specialist Da Volterra gets European funding

Friday’s Les Echos (p28) reports that French biotech Da Volterra has been granted a 20 million euros loan by the European Investment Bank.
The company specialises in research into multi-resistant infectious diseases, notably working on the prevention of Clostridium difficile infections.

Anti-vaccine groups protest in Rome

Monday’s Le Monde (p6) reported about the efforts of the Italian government to contain the anti-vaccine groups protesting against mandatory immunisations.
As children are going back to school and those who are not vaccinated are forbidden to go into classes, Le Monde noted only slight incidents have been reported.
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