Press review

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French health minister calls for better information on drugs following Levothyrox scandal

PARIS, 7 Sept (APM) - France's healthcare minister Agnès Buzyn has called for a "more accessible, clear and reactive" information system on medicines in the aftermath of the Levothyrox scandal, reported Le Monde on Wednesday.
Following an official report the minister had ordered on the scandal, Buzyn announced she was in favour of a centralised and unique public information source on medicines for patients, with a new website (sante.gouv.fr).
The report concluded the Levothyrox case had shown the French healthcare system had not properly answered the crisis, with a "non-coordinated" communication, "the absence of anticipation and support to patients", and "a total absence of reaction to the numerous signals coming from social networks and patients associations". (APMHE 59546)
According to the report, the authorities demonstrated "a total lack of transparency and reactivity".
The French government had already announced the creation of a unique public information website on medicines after the Mediator scandal.

Gardasil 9 arrives in France

Tuesday’s Le Parisian reported on the launch in France of Sanofi’s new generation HPV vaccine Gardasil 9, noting the product now aims at protecting against nine strains of the virus compared to four in the previous one.
The article pointed out this launch comes as the vaccination rate of French women against HPC has decreased considerably during the last few years, from 27% in 2010 to 15% now.
Le Parisian said this situation is caused by the complaints, since then all dismissed in court, that were filed against Sanofi, accusing the vaccine of causing severe side effects.

Pharma companies prepare for Brexit

Wednesday’s Les Echos pointed out Brexit will not be without consequences for pharma companies as they have to invest in additional stockpiling facilities in view of the expected separation of the UK from the EU.
As the British government has announced it is in talk with the sector to funding the extra costs (APMHE 59596), Les Echos noted the companies "will feel the sting" of the required investments.
Pfizer evaluated the cost of Brexit at around $100 million, explaining that sum would cover new approval fees, the change of its products packaging, as well as customs related costs, while GlaxoSmithKline estimated the cost would amount to £70 million.
"In these conditions, the future of R&D investments of big pharma companies is questioned," said the newspaper, pointing out the sector invests 16% of its R&D budget on average in the UK, compared to only 9% of its sales.
"Brexit will also have a heavy impact on the administration," the newspaper continued, as the EMA has already announced its workforce could be reduced by around 30%.

Sanofi pays $25 million fine to settle corruption accusations

Les Echos briefly reported on Wednesday that it has accepted a $25 million fine to settle a case in which the company was accused of corruption by its affiliates in Kazakhstan and Middle East, according to a statement made by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The company has agreed to settle this case but without admitting or denying the accusations, Les Echos underlined.

Antabio to start clinical evaluation of new generation antibiotic

French biotech Antabio has established a subsidiary in the U.S. to launch Phase I trials of its candidate nosocomial infection candidate treatment in the second half of 2019, reported Les Echos on Wednesday.
The compounds targets metallic beta-lactamase enzymes and targets infections by resistant bacterias. The company expects the product to go into Phase III around 2022.

Valérie Poinsot takes the helm at Boiron

Le Figaro and Les Echos report on Friday on the appointment of Valérie Poinsot at the helm of homeopathy specialist Boiron, following the departure of Christian Boiron, heir of the founder.
The appointment will become effective in January.
Currently general manager in charge of development for the company, Poinsot will take over as the company is facing a media storm as the reimbursement of homeopathic medicines is questioned by authorities.
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