Press review

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Calls for specialist tax in France to finance legal costs of victims of drugs' side effects

Country : France, Japan, South Korea, U.S.

Keywords :
PARIS, 27 Apr (APM) - French victims of drugs' side effects still face too many challenges to get their cases recognised and obtain compensation, according to an open letter by pneumologist Irène Frachon and lawyer Charles Joseph-Oudin to Health Minister Agnès Buzin.
In the letter published on Monday by 20 Minutes (front page and p8), Frachon, who became a central figure of medicines' scandals after she uncovered the Mediator affair, and Joseph-Oudin, who has become the most prominent lawyer specialising in such cases, want reforms to accelerate and simplify those procedures.
According to the two authors, the cost for victims to launch expertise and actions are too high and do not allow them to be protected or to defend themselves, sometimes not even to get treatment from the consequences of side effects.
Frachon and Joseph-Oudin propose that a special fund be created to allow victims to get financial help in those procedures. It would be financed by a tax paid either by citizens via a 1 euro franchise on each medicine box sold.
Joseph-Oudin argued the tax and the new system would not penalise pharma companies, and would "help to restore the confidence in the industry".

Nicox opens development office in U.S.

French biotech Nicox has opened a new development office in the U.S. in Research Triangle Park (North Carolina) Wednesday's Les Echos (p24) reported.
The new site will employ around 12 people, reinforcing ties with local technologies. This announcement comes after the company launched in December its first product in the U.S., Vyzulta, in ocular hypertension, with its partner Bausch+Lomb.
Nicox expects to launch another one this autumn, Zerviate, in allergic conjunctivitis, with Eyevance Pharmaceuticals.
The French company is also looking to join the Nasdaq in the near term in order to support trial submissions, with NCX470 in the same indication as Vyzulta in the third quarter of 2018 and NCX 4251 in the first quarter of 2019 in blepharitis.

Takeda wins approval of Shire's board after raising offer to £46 billion

Thursday’s Les Echos (p20 and p34) reported Takeda has finally gained Shire’s board approval to their merger after the Japanese company raised its proposal to £46 billion.
"The fifth attempt should be the one", Les Echos said, adding the market valuation of Takeda has dropped by 7% on markets after the announcement. This is a sign of investors' concerns over the debt increase the operation will create for the Japanese pharma.
Les Echos though reminded Takeda was in need of an acquisition, after having suffered from the loss of exclusivity on several of its products, among which diabetic drug Actos.

John Reed to lead Sanofi’s R&D

Wednesday’s Les Echos (p20) as well as Thursday’s Le Figaro (brief p22) both reported that John Reed, who was until now R&D head of Roche, has left the company to join Sanofi, where he will have the same position.
Succeeding Elias Zerhouni on 1 July, Reed comes "with a strong position" to Sanofi, Les Echos said, noting he has accomplished "serious advances" in Basel, notably by choosing to reinvest in internal projects that led to the discovery of promising compounds.
His arrival "could revive confidence within Sanofi’s researchers, destabilised by decades of changes in the priorities" of the French group’s R&D.

Philippe Teboul becomes general manager of BMS France

Le Figaro (brief p22) briefly reported on Wednesday on the appointment of Philippe Teboul as general manager of Bristol-Myers Squibb's operations in France.
He was previously general manager of Actelion France and will replace Jean-Christophe Barland, who has been promoted to lead BMS' operations in Japan, South Korea and Taïwan.

'Spotless' year for Boehringer Ingelheim in 2017

Boehringer Ingelheim has accomplished a "spotless" year in 2017, judged Les Echos (p20) on Thursday, notably through the integration on animal health business Merial.
Despite the 233 million euros loss posted in 2017, Les Echos preferred to focus on the promise the company made to return to profit in 2018.

Balcofen’s efficacy judged insufficient by France's drug agency in alcohol abuse

Thursday’s Libération (brief p15) and Le Parisien (brief p9) briefly reported that French drugs agency ANSM has issued a report judging baclofen’s efficacy for alcohol addiction is insufficient.
The myorelaxant had been evaluated during the last years in this new indication following off label promising prospects, but the agency judged that the clinical efficacy of the molecule in this indication was not sufficient.
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