Press review

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Report blames French government for slow approval of Gilead's Truvada for HIV prevention

Country : France, Germany, Italy, U.S.

Keywords :
PARIS, 20 July (APM) - Tuesday’s Libération (website) carried a report from the French social affairs inspection office, Igas, criticising the French healthcare administration for having been too slow in approving Gilead’s Truvada for the prevention of HIV infection.
"This is the first time Igas has set aside politeness toward the government in such a strong way," pointed out Libération.
According to Igas, "the evaluation process of this indication extension has been unusually long."
Igas added the process would have been much longer and might even not have happened had it not been under constant pressure from patients association Aides.
The report said that in total, "three years have been lost" in the protection of the at-risk population, adding that during that period, between 1,600 and 4,000 infections could have been avoided if the process had been more diligent.
In particular, the report accuses French drug watchdog ANSM of having been "particularly nonchalant" in the handling of the dossier.
Igas also blamed the DGS (Direction général de la santé), within the Health ministry, to have been " totally uninterested" in the matter.

Italy becomes Europe’s leading medicines manufacturer

Italy has taken over from Germany as the leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, reported Le Figaro (website) on Tuesday, citing a press release from the country’s pharma body Farmindustria.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing reached €31.2 billion euros in 2017 according to the industrial association’s figures, compared to €30 billion euros for Germany.
In Italy, pharmaceutical companies invested €2.8 billion last year, of which € 1.3 billion was in manufacturing and €1.5 billion in R&D, some 20% than over the last five years.
French pharma body Leem noted this performance was the result of a "real industrial strategy" launched by the Italian government over recent years.

J&J ordered to pay $4.7 billion compensation

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by a U.S. court to pay $4.7 billion compensation to 22 women who alleged the company’s talcum powder-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer, les Echos reported on Monday (brief p16)

Novartis enjoys profits surge

Thursday’s Les Echos (brief p12) briefly reported on Novartis’ second quarter results, noting the company’s profits leapt to $7.8 billion, compared to $2 billion a year ago, thanks to the contribution of the sale of its stake in the consumer care joint venture with GSK (APMHE 58965).

Shortages hit rabies and tick-borne encephalitis vaccines

Wednesday’s Les Echos (brief p12) and Thursday’s Le Parisien (brief p9 and website) reported on shortages over rabies and tick-borne encephalitis vaccines.
Le Parisien said Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are the only two suppliers of rabies vaccines in France.
A spokesperson for Sanofi told the newspaper the company had suffered disruptions in the manufacturing process over three years, following "quality control investigations".
Regarding tick-borne encephalitis vaccines, Le Parisien noted Pfizer’s Ticovac will not be available again before the end of July, while noting a competitor product from GSK, Encepur is available.
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