Press review


French OTC market affected by lack of winter diseases, regulations in 2017

PARIS, Feb 9 (APM) - Lower incidence of winter diseases and new regulations have impacted the over-the-counter market in France in 2017, Les Echos reported (p19) on Monday.
The French OTC market declined by than 3.7% to 2.24 billion euros, with respiratory diseases treatments down 8.4% and painkillers losing 4.1%, according to figures published by French OTC lobby Afipa. (APMHE 56748)
The market has suffered from the government’s decision to put products containing opioids on the list of drugs that require a prescription, in order to fight misuse.
The sector was also impacted by the ban on adverts for drugs containing vasoconstrictors.
Afipa also highlighted the fact that the French government’s project to strengthen the regulation of umbrella brands, which could be decided this year, could add another obstacle for its members.
“OTC products should be the first step in the medical system, and should be supported, but the government is doing the opposite,” Afipa chair Pascal Brossard told Les Echos.

Baclofen patients sue to remove dose limit

Wednesday’s Le Parisien (p11) announced that the top administrative court in France will decide on February 16 whether the dosage limit recently imposed by French authorities for alcohol addiction treatment baclofen should be removed or not.
The newspaper said French drug watchdog ANSM had decided to limit the dose of the treatment to 80 mg following a study that found risks at higher doses.
Many patients however used to take 150 mg or even 300 mg of the medicine daily, it noted.
In its article, Le Parisien published several quotes from patients who said that their addiction was not treated properly with the limited dosages.

Sanofi rejects Philippines’ demand for Dengue vaccine refund

On Tuesday, Les Echos (brief p15), and Le Figaro (brief p9) reported that Sanofi had rejected the Philippines’ demand for a refund for supplies of its dengue vaccine Dengvaxia bought before the suspension of the vaccination campaign.
On Wednesday, Le Monde (Eco & Entreprise supplement, p5) said that the company is being sued by a Philippine government agency, which demands compensation for the parents of a 10-year-old girl the agency said had died as a result of receiving the controversial vaccine (APMHE 56760).

Edmond de Rothschild raises 345 million euros for biotech fund

Thursday’s Les Echos (p22) reported on the 345 million euros of raised by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (Edrip) for its Biotech and Medical Technologies fund, “the largest in the sector in Europe”.
The newspaper noted that the last capital-raising for this fund only raised 192 million euros, while the firm has to date gathered close to 800 million euros in 17 years of activity.
Gilles Nobécourt, associate director of the fund, told Les Echos it was the “good health of the sector, with successes like hepatitis C medicines from Gilead, thanks to the acquisition of Pharmasset,” that had allowed the firm to convince investors.
Les Echos noted that Edrip favoured buyout exits, with 16 such operations carried out, but did not exclude IPOs.
In the same issue, Les Echos (p36), also reported on the press conference given by Maryvonne Hiance, general manager of French public investment bank Bpifrance, with the message that the institution aims to increase its focus on biotechs (APMHE 56799).

Sanofi ready to grow in 2018

Thursday’s Les Echos (p22) reported that Sanofi was ready to grow again in 2018, counting on both its specialty medicines and on acquisitions. (APMHE 56793, APMHE 56773).
Le Figaro (p24) preferred to focus on the difficulties the company is facing in diabetes, where it is suffering from the competition.

New study to investigate how to increase immunotherapy efficacy

Monday’s Les Echos (website) announced that two French cancer research institutions, Unicancer and Fondation ARC, have launched a new study that aims to understand the response factors to immunotherapies.
The study will last seven years (until 2025) and will notably include evaluations of nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck & Co.).

Simple blood test could avoid cancer drug toxicity

Friday’s Le Figaro (p13) reports that a French study has established that 133 cancer patients died because of the toxicity of 5FU chemotherapy between 2005 and 2015, and 155 required critical care, noting that a simple blood analysis could prevent such events.
The study, published by the regional pharmacology centre of Marseille, added that 1,500 severe side effects were reported for the chemotherapy over the period.
The newspaper said these accidents could be easily avoided, since it is well established that 5FU toxicity is linked to the lack of enzyme dihydropyrimidine deshydrogenase (DPD).
However, until now the test, which costs 190 euros, has rarely been used by hospitals.
Questioned by Le Figaro, French drug watchdog ANSM said it is not pushing for systematic use of the test, arguing a lack of consensus over its itsefficacy.

Stergiopoulos appointed CMO at Ipsen

Thursday’s Les Echos (p35) said that Sortirions Stergiopoulos has been promoted to chief medical officer at Ipsen.
He was previously head of global medical affairs oncology for Baxalta (bought by Shire), after positions at Celgene and Novartis.

GSK expects stable results in 2018

Thursday’s Les Echos (brief p22) briefly reported that GlaxoSmithKline expects stable results this year, also noting that the markets have not reacted favourably to the “blurring” around its results prospects.

16.4 billion-dollar loss for Teva in 2017

Friday’s Les Echos (p18) reports on the 16.4 billion dollars loss recorded by Teva in 2017 (APMHE 56811).



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