French pharma proposes lower but constant drug prices in France - press

PARIS, Feb 3 (APM) - The head of the French pharmaceutical industry body (LEEM) has said he wants to review price-setting rules for drugs in France and proposes setting prices that would initially be comparatively lower but would remain constant - as opposed to falling over time.
Patrick Errard, who is also head of Astellas France, told the economic daily Les Echos this change will feature in the proposals the trade body will make before spring, as part of negotiations on the new LEEM-French economic committee for health products (CEPS) framework agreement. The current agreement, signed for three years, terminates at the end of the year.
LEEM wants to reconsider the new regulatory mechanism for spending on chronic hepatitis C treatment, known as the 'W rate'. The payback mechanism was written into the social security funding law (LFSS) for 2015.
“The criterion signalling the success of our negotiation (with CEPS) will be the end of the W rate,” Errard said in the economic daily on Monday.
“When Gilead’s Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) arrived before summer 2014, it was too late to set up conventional negotiations. Pharma therefore argued in favour of the set up of a special fund, as exists for an epidemic. In vain,” the economic daily said.
For LEEM, the new price-setting rules will need to take into account “efficiency gains” following on from breakthrough innovations, and, in particular, impact on the social security budget.
“We want to extend the focal distance. Where an innovative drug allows avoiding complications, and does away with the need for surgical intervention, or even, where it is able to eradicate a disease, that generates long term savings for social security,” Errard said.
LEEM recommends a new mechanism where industry could agree to a lower starting price that, in exchange, would not fall over time as is currently the case.
According to Les Echos, the health minister Marisol Touraine, - who wants to save 3.5 billion euros on drugs from 2015 to 2017 by focusing on price reductions - said she is open to looking for a long-term solution within an agreement basis.
In May 2014, LEEM suspended its participation in dialogue with the state to protest against the extent of the savings plan and officially accepted at the end of December to come back to the negotiating table following an invitation by junior minister of higher education and research Geneviève Fioraso (APMHE 40895).
At the end of January, when he presented his New Year wishes, Errard said he had written to prime minister Manual Valls asking for a “renewed” agreement-based policy and also called for a re-founding of the Strategic Council of Health Industries (CSIS) (APMHE 41196).



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