PARIS, 24 Aug (APM) - Drug expenditure in France has been increasingly over budget since 2014, reported Les Echos on Tuesday.
According to a report published in June by French social security, so-called "city" healthcare costs (that exclude expenses made in hospitals) exceeded budget by €200 million in 2015, €700 million in 2016 and €600 million in 2017, out of a total expenditure of close to €90 billion.
According to the report, this drift is mainly explained by the unexpected surge in drugs' costs in 2014, notably with the arrival of Sovaldi for hepatitis C.
Between 2010 and 2014, noted the document, healthcare spending had been below forecast, notably thanks to the fall of several medicines patents.
The report added that the authorities have been quite aggressively coping with the situation after 2015, with a renewed effort on price cuts, but also mostly on the sharp increase of the rebates claimed to pharmaceuticals companies.
The latter went from €245 million in 2010 to €980 million in 2017, the authors emphasised.
Over the period, healthcare products have contributed to healthcare budget savings of €7.9 billion on the "city" budget, compared to a total effort of €9.5 billion.
But in the meantime, it added, healthcare products bill increased by €9.9 billion, within a budget increase of €12.4 billion.
Pricing pressure pushes Japanese pharma companies out
Tight price control measures set by the Japanese government are pushing local pharmaceutical companies out of their home market, Les Echos said on Monday.
Despite an ageing population, Japanese pharma companies are financially suffering because of price cuts, with an average 2.2% decline in turnover of the 10 largest local players this year.
"And most of them expect a 4% further drop this year because of the new measures announced by the government," Les Echos added.
This explained why Japanese companies are venturing increasingly into export markets, notably in the U.S., to offset this decline.
The newspaper noted this was one of the main reasons for the planned acquisition of Shire and takeovers of Millennium Pharma and Nycomed by Takeda in recent years, while Mitsubishi Tanabe took control of NeurDerm.
And in April, Astellas announced it had set aside the equivalent of around €1.5 billion to lead acquisitions in the U.S. in the next three years.
Health minister officially orders re-evaluation of homeopathy reimbursement
Friday’s Le Parisian reports that French health minister Agnès Buzyn has finally officially requested French HTA agency HAS (Haute autorité de santé) to review homeopathy’s efficacy, and to take a position over its reimbursement.
Reminding that homeopathy is currently reimbursed at 30%, Le Parisien adds that HAS's decision is expected by the end of February.
This move comes as controversy rages among the French medical community over this category of medicines, after a collective of 124 physicians signed an open letter in June asking to terminate their reimbursement.
No-deal Brexit official plans call for stockpiling of medicines
On Friday, Les Echos and Le Figaro report on the long expected official British ‘no-deal' guidance, noting pharmaceutical companies are in particular invited to increase their stockpiling capabilities (APMHE 59420
For Les Echos, those announcements, as well as the measure that could be applied to other types of products than pharmaceuticals, seems to be more like a "goodwill" gesture towards the British population, and the newspaper pointed out London is still looking to agree a deal with European authorities in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Novo Nordisk buys UK insulin specialist Ziylo
On Monday, Les Echos reported on the acquisition by Novo Nordisk of UK biotech Ziylo, specialising in glucose responsive insulins, in a deal that could exceed $800 million.
This acquisition, noted Les Echos, fits into Novo's plans to diversify its product range, as the company is suffering from price pressures, notably in the U.S. (APMHE 59349
Teva launches generic of Mylan’s EpiPen in U.S.
Teva has been granted a green light for the first official generic of Mylan’s EpiPen, Les Echos said on Monday. (APMHE 59348
New finance director for Celyad
Tuesday’s Les Echos announced the appointment of Filippo Petti as finance director of Belgian biotech Celyad, specialising in CAR-T cell therapies.
Previously vice-president of healthcare investment banking at Wells Fargo Securities, he will replace Patrick Jeanmart, who is to leave the company at the end of December following a transition period.