PARIS, 13 Apr (APM) - Hepatitis C specialists are asking the French government to allow GPs to prescribe the latest generation of therapies, reported Le Figaro (Health supplement, p9) on Monday.
A few weeks after the government officially announced a new plan to fight the disease, aiming at eradicating it by 2025, France's hepatologists association, Afef, has supported this measure, willing to make the treatments more easily accessible.
"Last generation treatments are now supposedly accessible to all patients, but for some, it is still a long battle to have them prescribed," general secretary Christophe Bureau told Le Figaro.
It said those treatments had been launched in 2014, with Gilead’s Solvadi, sparking controversy over pricing.
The launch of competitors has since then allowed the government to put pressure on prices and to control their impact on the healthcare budget, but they still cost around €28,000 per treatment.
For now, their prescription is restricted to haematologists, but the latter argue GPs should be able to prescribe them, or at least for the less severe cases.
Le Figaro though noted patients associations are welcoming the proposal with some reserves, as they fear it would have consequences on the way patients are taken care of.
They pointed out such a measure should be taken only if the training of GPs in the treatment of hepatitis C is strengthened.
In its conclusion, the newspaper said the most important step is to reinforce the diagnostic system, as 120,000 infected patients are not yet treated, and half of that do not even know they are infected.
Novartis 'gambles' $8.7 billion on gene therapy specialist AveXis
Wednesday’s Le Figaro (p23) and Les Echos (p18) reported on the acquisition of gene therapy specialist AveXis by Novartis for $8.7 billion. (APMHE 57603
Les Echos noted the announcement is another sign that M&A fever in pharma is "still high".
It added the main compound of the acquisition, AVXS-101, is credited with potential peak sales of several billion dollars, and could be approved as soon as 2019 in the U.S., with a positive impact on Novartis' sales and profits as soon as 2020.
It also pointed out it will compete with Biogen’s Spinzara, which generated sales of €360 million in the fourth quarter 2017 only.
Sanofi invests €350 million euros in paediatric vaccines in Canada
On Friday, Les Echos (p16) reports on the announcement by Sanofi of a €350 millions investment in paediatric vaccines production in Toronto.
The project will be finished in 2021 and will receive a €13 millions subsidy from the Ontario government.
It will produce antigens for several pediatric vaccines, which generated sales of €1.6 billion for Sanofi last year.
Deinove boosts severe gastrointestinal diseases with Morphochem buy
French start-up Deinove "makes a step forward" in severe gastrointestinal disease with the acquisition of German company Morphochem, notes Les Echos on Friday (p28).
The business will allow the company to take control of a new generation of antibiotics developed by its target in this field, with a compound that is about to start trials.
Pharnext secures €16 millions financing
On Thursday, Les Echos (p26) reported French biotech Pharnext has secured €16 millions through a private placing, €10 of which will come from its Chinese partner Tasly Pharmaceuticals
This operation will allow the company to more than double its available cash of €13 millions at the end of 2017.
"This placement will give Pharnext the serenity to complete the Phase III programme on its lead candidate PXT3003," in the treatment of type 1 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, noted Les Echos.
Nicotine patches sales 'booming'
Le Parisien briefly reported that sales of nicotine transdermal devices soared 45% in 2017 to 600,000 units.