Press review

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Why France’s generics market is stagnating

Country : France

Keywords :
PARIS, Mar 23 (APM) - Les Echos (p16) on Wednesday reported on the stagnation of the French generics market in 2017, highlighting the fact that the country has the lowest penetration rate among OECD members.
The market recorded just 0.2% growth last year to €3.47 billion, thanks only to an increase of substitution rates by pharmacists to 80.7%
“Without their effort, the market would have declined by 2.4% in value and 3.9% in volume, because of big price cuts imposed by the government,” Les Echos added.
Over the past five years, €800 million of savings have been made on generics, with another €180 million planned for 2018.
The industry is “raging against this situation,” the newspaper continued, arguing that the authorities should favour an increase in the market share of generics rather than putting the pressure on prices.
In France, generics only account for 19% of the pharmaceuticals market in value terms (36% in volume), while the average in the OECD is around 50%, and even as much as 80% in Germany.
This is notably because in France, two important drugs in terms of sales, aspirin and paracetamol, cannot be substituted.
“Sanofi managed to keep acetaminophen off the the substitution list, hence protecting its Doliprane range,” the newspaper said, without providing further details.
Generics companies are therefore deprived of two high-volume and easy-to-manufacture products, which could really help them increase their margins, said market access analyst Philipe Gehin.

Improper use of medicines linked to 21,000 avoidable deaths each year

Thursday’s Libération (bief p21 and website) reported that a healthcare professionals' association has alerted that misuse of medicine could be linked to more than 21,000 avoidable deaths each year in France.
According to a study carried out by the ‘Collectif du bon usage du médicament’ (proper medicines use collective), more than 130,000 hospital admissions and 21,000 deaths could be caused by improper use, dosage or combinations of medicines.
Among the main problems, addressing the use of benzodiazepines should be a priority, the collective emphasised, while also pushing for measures to inform about the risks of over-the-counter products.

GSK abandons race to acquire Pfizer’s OTC business

Friday’s Les Echos (website) reports on GlaxoSmithKline’s decision to withdraw from the bidding process for Pfizer’s Consumer healthcare business, 24 hours after Reckitt Benckiser pulled out (APMHE 57438).
Les Echos added that this sale, which is now very unlikely, would have allowed Pfizer to invest in diversification in higher growth businesses.

AbbVie sinks on markets after Rova-T failure

Friday’s Les Echos (website) writes that AbbVie’s market value fell by close to 15% after the company announced that it will stop the development of Rova-T in lung cancer (APMHE 57422).

A quarter of pharmacists recommend dangerous paracetamol doses

Thursday’s Libération (brief p19), L’Humanité (brief p11) and 20 Minutes (brief p8) reported that one pharmacist in four in France recommends doses of paracetamol that are higher than safe levels.
According to a study conducted by consumer group UFC-Que Choisir in 772 pharmacies, 54% of pharmacists recommended a dose above the daily 3 g maximum, and 24% a dosage of more than 4 g a day.
The association asked the authorities to make a warning box obligatory on the packaging of paracetamol-based products to remind buyers of daily recommended dose limits. (APMHE 57424)

Pharmacists ask to extend vaccination experiment

Monday’s Les Echos (p3) reported that pharmacists’ union USPO has asked the government to extend an experiment allowing pharmacists to carry out vaccinations in two regions to the whole country.
This experiment has “proved itself to be successful, notably showing that pharmacists do not take over from doctors in vaccination but extend access to immunisation,” USPO declared.

Teva cuts half of its workforce in France

Also on Wednesday, Les Echos (p16) reported on Teva’s announcement that it will cut half of its workforce in France, with 248 out of 578 jobs targeted.
The company justified this move by the pricing pressure in the generics market in France, as well as “delays in the penetration of generic medicines” (APMHE 57384),
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