Press review

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Breast cancer treatment cost to fall with arrival of biosimilars of Herceptin in France

Country : France, U.S.

Keywords :
PARIS, Sep 14 (APM) - The arrival on the French market of biosimilars of Roche’s cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) will push the prices of the product down by around 30%, wrote Les Echos (p19) on Wednesday.
"Three biosimilars - Biogaran’s Herzuma, Amgen’s Kanjinti and Merck & Co’s Ontruzant - are to be launched", the newspaper said, noting that sales of the product in France are around €330 million annually and will now have to be shared by the Swiss big pharma.
"And it's not over," warned the newspaper, since Pfizer and Sandoz are on their way to launch their own biosimilars soon.
Les Echos added however that only the intravenous forms of the product will be facing competition. The company also developed a subcutaneous form which should allow Roche to keep a portion of the sales of this flagship product which generates revenues of 7 billion Swiss francs.
The savings expected by the French authorities on the healthcare budget are only of around €40 million euros, plus rebates hospitals might obtain from manufacturers.
Amgen has an edge in this new context, as it is the only company to have carried out a study that showed it is possible to substitute Herceptin with its product in patients who have already been treated, the article emphasised.

New scandal over hormone treatment Androcur

Tuesday’s Libération (p12) published an article saying a study published by French drug watchdog ANSM on the safety of Bayer's hormonal disorder treatment Androcur (cyproterone acetate) "could become the latest healthcare scandal".
Libération reported that the ANSM announced at a press conference the product is linked to an increased risk of meningioma.
The French authorities are accused of not having properly handled the use of the product, noting that these risks were known as early as 2009.
In a separate article, Libération published the testimonies of four women who had been treated with the drug and now have severe disabilities.
The newspaper also noted that ANSM has announced that revisions of the conditions of use of the product should be announced in October.

Nostrum price policy under fire

Thursday’s Les Echos (p17) wrote about the decision of American pharmaceutical company Nostrum Pharma to raise the price of one of its drugs by more than 400%, noting that its chairman, Nirmal Mulye, had justified the move by "a moral obligation to sell its product at the highest price possible".
The executive "might join Martin Shkreli in the pantheon of most hated businessmen in America," Les Echos said.
The newspaper added that Mulye had also justified the price increase by a similar decision taken by a direct competitor, Casper Pharma, which has managed a 300% price rise, but over three years.
Les Echos pointed out that the U.S. FDA had condemned the decision on Twitter, rejecting the entrepreneur's arguments.

French pharma body elects new chairman

Wednesday’s Les Echos (brief p16) and Friday’s Le Figaro (p29) reported on the election of Philippe Tcheng, a high-ranking executive at Sanofi France, to head up French pharma industry association Leem.
While Les Echos only briefly treated the news, Le Figaro published a full portrait of Tcheng, who replaces Patrick Errard in this position.
The newspaper noted that Tcheng, "the chief lobbyist of French pharma", has broad experience in public and government relations management, having worked in that field for more than 30 years for Sanofi.
He is also joint secretary of the France's healthcare industry strategic council, the committee that is hosting sectoral discussions between the government and the pharmaceutical industry.

Executive swap for Bayer and Sanofi

Friday’s Les Echos (brief p20) and Le Figaro (brief p29) report that Bayer and Sanofi announced an executive swap on Thursday, with Stefan Oelrich, Sanofi's head of diabetes and cardiovascular business, succeeding Dieter Weinand as Bayer's head of pharma, while Weinand is appointed head of Sanofi's newly created primary care global business unit (APMHE 59674, APMHE 59675).
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