Press review

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French ‘battle’ over reimbursement of homeopathy

Country : France, U.S.

Keywords :
PARIS, Aug 10 (APM) - A battle is raging in France between supporters and critics of homeopathy, Le Parisien reported on Wednesday.
As French health minister Agnès Buzyn promised last week to launch a “scientific evaluation” of these products, and after petition against their reimbursement was made public in July, regular users launched a counterattack this week.
Around 35,000 French patients have signed a first online petition, while a second one has gathered more than 230,000 signatures.
The newspaper also published an interview of Claude Evin, a former health minister, who publicly took position against the continued reimbursement of homeopathy.
In a separate article, Le Parisien noted that homeopathy is a “very French business”, adding that French company Boiron is the world’s leading manufacturer of these products.
Pointing out that the company generates annual sales of more than €600 million euros and employs more than 2,500 people in France (3,200 worldwide), the company has refused to comment over this medical "storm", Le Parisien said.
Boiron however supplied the paper with “a wealth of figures”, notably underlining that homeopathy only accounted for 0.29% of total medicines reimbursements in France last year.

Trump promises new measures on drug prices

Friday’s Les Echos reports on the announcement made by U.S. President Donald Trump of new measures to control drug prices.
Trump told attendees at a dinner with business leaders that new measures would be announced next week. (APMHE 59247)
Les Echos however noted that this declaration, like the previous ones the U.S. president had made on the same topic, has not so far had much influence on the market valuations of pharmaceutical companies.
Les Echos writes that this could be another “threat without effect” from Washington, highlighting the strong performances of big pharma on markets since his election, with a 21% increase since the beginning of the year for Lilly, +18% for Merck & Co. and +13.6% for Pfizer, among others.

Positive results in French study on CAR-T

Friday’s Le Parisien reports that a clinical trial assessing the efficacy of CART-T therapy on around 30 patients has delivered highly positive results.
The newspaper says the trial produced “extraordinary results”, with a remission rate of over 80% in patients with leukaemia.
The article notes that two early access schemes for these treatments have been granted by French drugs agency ANSM, to Gilead and Novartis.
This will make the treatments available to French patients, while in the meantime, the two companies will lead “tough negotiations” with the authorities on the reimbursement price of these “very expensive medicines”.
Currently, only two hospitals in Paris are approved to administer these treatments, it adds.

Fresenius Kabi files suit against Nebraska for ‘use of its drugs in death penalty’

On Friday, Le Figaro and L’Humanité write that Fresenius Kabi is accusing the government of Nebraska of having illegally bought some of its products in order to use them in death penalty executions.
The German company has filed a complaint with a U.S. court in order to try to prevent the use of these products in an execution that will take place on 14 August.
According to Le Figaro, the company said it did not want to take a stance on the death penalty, but did not want to suffer from consequences to its reputation due to the use of its products in executions.

Portrait of GSK’s chief Emma Walmlsey

Les Echos (website) on Friday publishes a portrait of GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO Emma Walmsley.
Noting that Walsmley is the first woman to take the helm of a big pharma, the story retraces her education and career, lingering on her time at L’Oréal, where she was notably responsible for the company’s Chinese subsidiary.
The article also details the measures she has taken since taking up the post at GSK, notably the replacement of 40% of the company’s top management, the divestment of 140 brands and the group’s refocusing.
“Though it is early to comment of the efficacy of her decisions, Emma Walmsley is at least credited by observers in London with having shaken GSK up,” Les Echos writes.

Complaint filed against delisting of Alzheimer medicines

Wednesday’s La Croix reported briefly that patient association France Alzheimer and seven other specialist charities have filed a lawsuit with France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, seeking reinstatement of the reimbursement of Alzheimer’s medicines, after they were delisted on 1 August (APMHE 59197).

Two more Chinese valsartan manufacturers acknowledge impurities

Tuesday’s Le Parisien briefly reported that two additional Chinese pharmaceutical companies, Rundu Pharma and Tianyu, have publicly acknowledged having produced batches of valsartan based-medicines with impurities, destined for Taiwan.
The newspaper added that the companies have indicated that the lots were intercepted before reaching patients.
This report comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in early July that they had spotted contaminated batches of valsartan manufactured by another Chinese company, Huahai (APMHE 58952), which led in France to the recall of generics made by nine firms.
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