Press review

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France promises to shorten market access procedures for innovative medicines

Country : France, U.S.

Keywords :
PARIS, July 13 (APM) - The French government promised at the healthcare industry strategic council on Tuesday to take measures to shorten market access procedures, reported Les Echos (p14), Le Parisien (p13) and Le Figaro (p24) on Wednesday.
In its editorial on the same day, Les Echos (p1) said the announcement was "a major shift" and a "strong signal" for the pharmaceutical industry in France.
"The major unknown factor remains the reorganisation of the way pharmaceuticals are evaluated in France, which is promised for 2019," pointed out the newspaper.
"It is time to simplify the system, but also to invest strongly in it," added Les Echos. Le Parisien also saluted the announcements, noting the government has also promised to give the sector a three-year visibility on the healthcare budgets laws, and to give access to public healthcare data.
But at the same time, France also asked the industry to "significantly reduce its prices".
Libération underlined several pharma companies leaders attending the council had praised the government's declarations, while noting some of them were also cautious, waiting to see in the detail how they would be implemented and when.
Le Figaro (p17) also reported on the "optimism" expressed by pharmaceutical companies representatives after the meeting.
The newspaper judged the council is "mission accomplished" for the government, with a "strong strike" from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
In the article, Pierre-Claude Fumoleau, AbbVie France chairman, noted "there is still much to be done, notably on the reform of the medicines evaluation procedures".
Les Echos (website) and Le Figaro (website) also reported on the investments announcement made by Merck & Co (APMHE 58873).

Pfizer stumbles on markets after Trump prevents price hikes

Thursday’s Les Echos (p31) noted Pfizer’s share price stumbled after U.S. President Donald Trump opposed on Twitter the decision by the company to raise the prices of several of its products, (APMHE 58872).
The article noted the company has accepted to delay those price measures by six months in order to give more time for the administration to work on its drug pricing blueprint.

MSD manager warns about 'attractiveness crisis' in France

On Monday Les Echos (p17) published an interview with Cyril Schiever, general manager of MSD France (Merck & Co), in which he underlined it was increasingly difficult for him, and other managers of French pharma subsidiaries to convince their board directors to invest in France.
In the interview, Schiever regretted the government had too much considered pharmaceuticals as a cost factor and neglected its economic role.
"It is more and more difficult for us to convince our headquarters to invest in clinical research in France when they see how difficult it has become to sell their products there," he argued.
He also complained about the length of negotiations on prices, supporting the idea of talks that would encompass several indications and on several years since the beginning of the process.
"This would allow to define from scratch a average price that would reflect the value of the product in different indications," he said.

Sanofi closes chemical site after environmental scandal

Wednesday’s Le Monde (Economie & Entreprises supplement, p5), Les Echos (p13), Le Figaro (website) and Libération (p14) reported Sanofi has announced the temporary closure of its chemical manufacturing site in Mournex after an environmental protection association proved the plant was far exceeding the atmospheric emission limits of hazardous chemicals (APMHE 58862).
Le Figaro said the site, which manufacture intermediates and active substances, among which Depakine’s valproate, will not open before work has been carried out to ensure the plant significantly reduces those emissions.
On Monday, French association FNE (France Nature Environment) published a report which showed the hazardous chemicals emissions, notably bromopopane, were 90,000 to 190,000 times over the allowed limits.
The association also accused the company of hiding those emissions in its emission reports to authorities, who spotted the anomalies in a control carried out in April.

New chairman for OTC pharma body

Friday’s Les Echos (p27) reports that Franck Leyze has been elected chairman of French Non-prescription medicines manufacturers association Afipa.
Leyze is currently general manager of Sanofi Santé Grand Public and replaces Emmanuel Bertin, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson Santé Beauté France.

Novartis ends antibiotics research

Friday’s Les Echos (p13) reports on the decision by Novartis to close its antibiotic research activities, leading to the 140 job losses. (APMHE 58904).
The newspaper notes this decision was a consequence of Novartis’s announcement made at the end of June to focus the company’s efforts on cancer, genetic therapies, neurosciences and ophthalmology.
Novartis had 32 compounds in development in this field, according to NGO Access to Medicine Foundation.

Pfizer reorganises into three businesses

On Thursday’s, Les Echos (brief p16) briefly reported on the reorganisation of Pfizer’s business structure in three branches, innovative medicines, mature medicines and OTC (APMHE 58882).
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