Press review

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France experiencing 'unprecedented' drug shortages

PARIS, 2 Nov (APM) - Le Parisien reported on ongoing drug shortages in France, saying on Monday that it is "unprecedented”. (p.2-3)
The daily reported that France’s drugs' regulator, ANSM, received 530 alerts regarding the shortages or potential shortages of drugs considered to be “essential” in 2017.
It also reported that several patient associations affected, including the Parkinson’s disease patient association France Parkinson, has launched a petition denouncing the situation.
La Croix ran a brief on the issue on Tuesday (p.10) stating that Merck Sharp & Dohme announced at the end of August a prolonged shortage of some doses of Sinemet, a drug used by 45,000 French patients.
Les Echos also reported on the situation in a brief on Tuesday (p.17), stating that the shortage was set to run until March 2019 due to the closure of the U.S. factory that manufactures the drug.
French pharma body Leem said it hoped all stakeholders would work together to find solutions to the problem.

Social security funding bill adopted in France

L’Humanité reported on Wednesday (p.6) that France’s social security funding bill PLFSS has been adopted with 335 votes to 190 in the country’s national assembly.
The left-wing paper criticised the savings that the bill envisages, quoting an MP who said, “we are bleeding out the [French] people!”.
Le Parisien also mentioned in a brief on Wednesday (p.10) that the PLFSS had finished its first reading in the national assembly.
Les Echos ran a brief on the subject on Wednesday (p.2) stating that for the first time in 18 years, the budget was positive, with a surplus of €700 million forecast for 2019.
The financial daily also stated that MPs of the country’s centrist governing party, La Républic en Marche! (LREM) and another centrist party Mouvement démocrate (Modem) voted for the PLFSS (APMHE 60340, APMHE 60352, APMHE 60368, APMHE 60354, APMHE 60375, APMHE 60383).

Patients and doctors question why four Alzheimer’s drugs no longer reimbursed

Le Figaro reported on Monday (p.12) that both doctors and patients were questioning why four Alzheimer’s drugs were taken off the reimbursement lists on 1 August.
One doctor stated that although the benefits of these drugs seems limited, one of them could slow down brain damage in the hippocampus of some patients by 45%.

Novartis signs agreement in search for NASH treatment

The Swiss pharma Novartis has signed agreement with other pharmas including Pfizer, Allergan and Conatus Pharmaceuticals in the search for a treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH), reported Les Echos on Tuesday (p.16) (APMHE 60342).
This disease currently has no treatment and has a market potentially worth €18 billion to €23 billion.
France's Genfit is currently running Phase III trials with elafibranor. Results are expected at the end of 2019 and the drug will be potentially be marketed at the beginning of 2020.

New Humira biosimilar approved in U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new Humira biosimilar, developed by Novartis’ Sandoz, Les Echos reports on Friday (p.12).
However, according to a licensing agreement signed with AbbVie, Sandoz will not be able to market the drug until 2023 (APMHE 60389).

EMA examines bluebird bio’s drug LentiGlobin for severe sickle cell disease

Les Echos reports on Friday (p.14) that the European Medicines Agency is examining bluebird bio’s drug LentiGlobin for severe sickle cell disease, the first drug for this disease which is currently treated by blood transfusions and bone marrow transplant in the most severe forms of the disease.

Virocovax targets Zika after developing hepatitis B and C vaccine

Les Echos reports on Friday on France's Virocovax (p.22). The company has developed a vaccine for hepatitis B and C and is now targeting the Zika virus. No vaccine currently exists for the latter.
Virocovax has signed an agreement with SATT Grande Centre to exploit the patents it owns.

Sanofi makes up for drop in diabetes sales

Les Echos reports on Friday (p.34) that Sanofi made up for a continuing decline in the sales of its diabetes drug Lantus, with sales of its dermatitis treatment Dupixent in Q3 (APMHE 60373).

Pfizer lowers full-year revenue forecast

Les Echos reported on Wednesday (p.18) that Pfizer has lowered its full-year revenue forecast to $53 million to $53.7 million citing competition from generics, pressure from the Trump administration to cut drug prices and a strong dollar (APMHE 60364).

Pfizer Healthcare Hub

French medical start-ups have until 30 November to apply for the acceleration programme Pfizer Healthcare Hub, Les Echos reports on Friday (p.20).
Two to four start-ups will be chosen to be part of this nine-month programme.

Nicox to delay Nasdaq listing

Les Echos reported on Wednesday (p.30) that French biotech Nicox is delaying its Nasdaq listing due to market volatility. Nicox specialises in ophthalmology (APMHE 60357).
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