PARIS, Mar 16 (APM) - Huge differences in estimates of how many patients have stopped taking the new formulation of Merck KGaA’s Levothyrox are creating a ‘staggering’ amount of confusion in France, said daily Libération on Wednesday (p19).
The newspaper said the figure is estimated at about one million by patients’ association Vivre sans thyroïde (Living without a thyroid), while French drug watchdog ANSM gives a number of around 500,000 and Merck is saying the figure is much lower, at around 300,000.
Libération judged the situation and the confusion over these significant differences as astonishing, “at a time where the healthcare community, notably authorities, is making so much fuss about the importance of data in management of the system.
“This inability to obtain a precise evaluation is at least puzzling,” the newspaper wrote, while the association declared it would be ”very interested” in comparing its figures to those of ANSM and Merck.
“It’s definitely difficult to be certain of the exact situation,” added Libération, while emphasising that these figures are far from what ANSM had been announcing until very recently. It had previously said the number of people who had stopped taking Levothyrox because of side effects was around 17,000.
The patients association also told the newspaper it would be “a very good thing if Merck, and ANSM too, would update their software and finally acknowledge the expertise of patients and the benefits of dialogue and collaboration” in such cases.
Transforming the French healthcare industry into a ‘champion’
Le Figaro (p23) on Wednesday published the conclusion of a report from French think-tank Institut Montaigne containing proposals to “transform France into a champion” in the healthcare industry.
The proposals aim to “allow France to recover its leading position as an attractive country for healthcare industries,” Le Figaro said.
The first proposal consists of strengthening the financing of medtech companies by redirecting funding from life insurance companies into the sector, and attracting international funds to invest in the country’s emerging companies.
The report also said that France should revamp the organisation and structure of its public research, and should notably focus its efforts on “strategic priorities”.
The report also pointed out France should make a serious effort to correct “the instability and the complexity” of pharmaceuticals regulation, including by shortening approval procedures.
HCV drug Maviret arrives in community pharmacies
Monday’s Le Parisien (p17) wrote about the arrival of AbbVie’s hepatitis C treatment Maviret in community pharmacies (APMHE 57235
DBV Technologies stumbles on markets
Thursday’s Figaro (brief p27) reported briefly on the fall in the market valuation of French biotech DBV Technologies after the company’s annual results announcement.
The stock went down by more than 3.2% as the company reported a net loss of close to 150 million euros in 2017, compared to 114.5 million euros in 2016.