Press review

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Shared medical file scheme finally takes off in France

PARIS, 9 Nov (APM) - Shared medical files (DMPs) are finally taking off in France, reported Les Echos on Tuesday (p.1 and 2).
DMPs are a type of digital health ID card, which healthcare professionals can use to access a patient's medical history. By mid-October, 1.7 million had been opened. The aim is to increase this number to 3.5 million before the end of the year, according to the head of France’s health insurance, and pharmacists are being given financial incentives to sign patients up.
An editorial in the same newspaper (p.9) expressed hope that this time the scheme would work, as the government seems to have learnt from its previous mistakes.
La Croix also reported on the DMPs on Tuesday (p.8) dedicating an article to past attempts to get the scheme off the ground, and mentioning how DMPs will help doctors and patients.
Le Figaro also ran an article on DMPs on Wednesday (p.22-23), answering 10 FAQs patients had on their creation and who could access them, as did Le Parisien (also on Wednesday p.7).
L’Humanité (p.14) on Wednesday stated in an article that DMPs could be opened online, at health insurance offices or pharmacists.
Libération reported on Wednesday (p.17) that the health insurance had ring-fenced an annual budget of €15 million for the scheme.
Le Monde on Wednesday (p.11) reported on the doubts doctors had as to whether the scheme would work, as the French doctors’ union says the system is too complicated and it takes too long to add a patient’s medical history to the DMP.
L’Opinion on Wednesday (p.4) also raised the issue of adding a patient’s history to their DMP, stating that the health insurance had to find a way to reimburse doctors for this task, which could take 30 minutes per patient.

Old formula of Levothyrox available in France in 2019

Le Parisien reported on Tuesday (p.12) that the old formula of Levothyrox, Euthyrox, will be available in France next year. (APMHE 60466)
Around 50,000 boxes of the drug will be imported from Germany. L’Humanité (p.11) and Les Echos p.21) also ran briefs on the subject on Wednesday.
La Croix reported in a brief on Wednesday (p.7) that the old formula of Levothyrox was only being made available in 2019 while patients transition to “lasting solutions”, according to Merck KGaA.
Meanwhile, Le Figaro reported on Tuesday (p.10) that a hospital in Toulouse has ordered experts to examine patients who say they are suffering from side effects after taking the new formula of Levothyrox .

Supply issues for blood-based drugs

La Croix reported on Monday (p.11) in a brief that some blood-based drugs manufactured by the French pharma Laboratoire français du fractionnement et des biotechnologies (LFB), are undergoing supply problems (APMHE 60452).
The paper quoted the director of the French association of haemophiliacs, who said “it is not a crisis situation” .

Increasing shortages

La Croix reports on Friday (p.7) on the ongoing drug shortages in France, particularly the alert raised by the patient association France Parkinson regarding Merck Sharp & Dohme’s Parkinson's drug, Sinemet.
According to the paper, 2017 saw a record number of drug shortages.

Sanofi benefiting from Chinese healthcare reform

Les Echos reports on Friday (p.16) that Sanofi is benefiting from the Chinese government’s healthcare reform, which is making it easier for innovative and high-quality drugs to get market access.
The newspaper reports that although pharma companies have to market their drugs at lower prices to remain competitive, the sheer volume of drugs sold makes up for it. As such, Sanofi is planning to launch 15 innovative treatments in China over the next five years.

Pharmacists not dispensing substitution drugs

Seventy percent of Parisian pharmacists are not dispensing substitution drugs to former drug addicts, according to the French drug users’ self-help association (Asud), reported L’Humanité on Monday (p.14). This is despite the former drug addicts having prescriptions.

MAb114, the drug 'made in Congo' to treat Ebola

Le Monde Eco & Entreprise ran an article on Wednesday (p.2) on the history of mAb114, the Ebola drug “made in Congo”. After over 20 years in development, the drug has been administered to 42 patients since August.

Potential cure for endometriosis

Le Point reported on Thursday (p.24) that researchers at the University of Chicago had shown it is possible to programme stem cells to create healthy uterine cells. A way to implant these cells into the uterus and replace defective cells now needs to be found.

French biotech gets second round of funding

Les Echos reported on Thursday (p.27) that the French biotech C4Diagnostics had succeeded in getting a second round of funding for a kit to diagnosis legionella bacteria, which cause legionnaires’ disease, in 48 hours instead of the usual seven days.
The kit could also be used by hospital practitioners to determine the most effective antibiotic for their patient, the paper continued.

AI in diagnosis

La Croix ran a feature on Tuesday (p.13-15) on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnosing diseases, especially cancers, and the issues surrounding it, particularly the ethical issue of whether or not AI could replace a human doctor.
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