Press review

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Novartis and Amgen launch new-generation migraine treatment in France

PARIS, May 25 (APM) - Amgen and Novartis have launched their new-generation migraine treatment on the French market, Les Echos announced on Tuesday (p22).
The product, Aimovig, co-developed by the two companies, "is good news for patients who do not respond to triptans," the newspaper wrote.
"But it is not likely to replace triptans, as it is administered once a month as a preventive treatment, and by injection," it added.
Further, Aimovig costs $575 per month, while triptans are very cheap as they are all available as generics.
Other similar products from Lilly, Teva and Alder Pharma should also arrive on the market in the next few years, the article concluded.

Why is homeopathy still reimbursed ?

Le Monde (Medicine supplement p4) on Wednesday published an article asking why France is the only country to reimburse homeopathy, while Le Figaro (website) said that "the wind is changing" in the minds of the French authorities over this matter.
"Why do substances for which there is no doubt of their lack of pharmaceutical efficacy continue to be reimbursed?" the newspaper asked.
Le Monde noted that a war is raging among physicians about those products, after a petition against their reimbursement was signed by more than 2,400 doctors.
Meanwhile, the French association of homeopathic physicians has filed a complaint with the physicians ethics committee to have those doctors that signed the petition sanctioned for "non-respect of the ethics code and non-fraternity".
Le Figaro noted that health minister Agnès Buzyn has for the first time "shyly" said their reimbursement could be revised.
"We initially decided to reimburse homeopathy without scientific evaluation," she noted.
"Maybe we could return to the norm and evaluate it. If it’s efficient, we will continue to reimburse it. If it's not, we won't," she said in an interview with France Inter radio.
Buzyn however added that the impact on the healthcare budget would be very limited and would not translate into significant savings for the social security.

Two nicotine-based patches reimbursed

Tuesday’s Les Echos (website) and La Croix (brief p7) reported that France has accepted the reimbursement of two smoking cessation products, Nicotine EG (EG Labo) and NicoretteSkin (Johnson & Johnson).
The two products will be reimbursed at 65% by the French social security. (APMHE 58115)
Les Echos added this is the first time smoking cessation aids have been reimbursed, and more similar products could also be reimbursed in the future.
The health minister also highlighted that the €150 yearly smoking cessation reimbursement package will be maintained until the end of the year, in order to ensure a smooth transition in the measures taken by the government to help people stop smoking.

Eczema treatment could be efficient against asthma

Wednesday’s L’Humanité (brief p2) and 20 Minutes (website) reported that Sanofi and Renegeron’s dermatitis drug Dupixent has proved efficient against asthma in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The two companies had already announced that the FDA had agreed to review the drug in this new indication in March (APMHE 57141).

Elsalys goes public to boost immunotherapy development

Biotech company Elsalys, which specialises in immunotherapy, has announced its intention to launch an IPO in order to finance further development of its immunotherapy candidate Leukotac, Les Echos (p29) announced on Tuesday.
The company expects to raise up to €19.5 million in the operation.
Leukotac, developed in the prevention of bone marrow graft rejections in patients resistant to corticoids, could be on the U.S. market in 2021, while the company expect to obtain a temporary use approval in France as soon as 2019.

Flash Therapeutics tests gene repair technology

French start-up Flash Therapeutics has raised €3.3 million that it will use to further develop its gene repair technologies, Les Echos (p29) wrote on Tuesday.
The company currently manufactures lentiviral vectors for pharmaceutical companies, but eventually aims to develop its own treatments for haematological and hepatic diseases based on its technological platform, based on mRNA.
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