Making the new French model
Lirsac, issue editor
An industry in the throes of change
: The role of innovation
Pharmaceutical firms’ activities involve quite different but
complementary persons and parties depending on the chain, from
innovation to the marketplace, for developing drugs. Reinforcing
France’s attractiveness calls for interventions in phases upstream in
the development process. A network of start-ups is a major condition
for the installation of pharmaceutical firms, whose major activity
consists in bringing to the market innovative molecules discovered by
and drugs: Scientific revolutions and the multiform evolution of firms
A new scientific era is opening in drug research. Greater complexity,
the exploding costs of developing new products and the necessity of a
multidisciplinary approach all have implications for the structure of
companies and the organization of research. Despite quite real
advantages, France, we must admit, does not have a “pole of excellence”
capable of positioning itself internationally and helping the drug
industry benefit from a host of new companies innovating in
future of European research in pharmaceutics
Europe has a strong scientific base but lends too little support to
research and scientists. The prospects for research in pharmaceutics
depend on fairly remunerating innovation, which must be seen as an
investment instead of a cost. Innovation is a source of competitive
advantages. The competitiveness of industry and public health are
complementary, not incompatible, objectives.
Taking up the challenge
access to medication
Patrick Le Courtois
Thanks to a recent modification of EU pharmaceutical regulations and
new administrative practices, in particular, the centralized procedure
of the EU Agency for the Evaluation of Medical Products (in charge of
testing biotechnological products), patients will be able to obtain new
drugs more quickly. Time will be saved, in particular, during the
phases before and after the authorization for commercializing a new
clinical research in oncology in a European Research Area
and Pierre Bey
Clinical research is a key to transferring data from basic research
toward practices in clinics. It is also a key to improving biological
and medical knowledge, and developing new therapeutic strategies while
offering patients the best guarantee of safety and efficacy.
Furthermore, clinical research plays a major federative role. Support
for it via public funds is indispensable. In France, the National
Cancer Institute could be used for this aid and for funding projects in
the framework of “canceropole networks of excellence”.
if France were no longer but a counter for distributing medication?
François Saint-Cast, Sabine Gadenne, Jean-Luc Hertz and
Not only are foreign drug-makers no longer setting up research centers
in France, but they are even starting to delocalize. If this trend
continues, it will have a major considerable on the French economy.
Conducted with the Aventis Laboratory, this study tries to quantify the
potential macroeconomic effects of delocalization on R&D and the
production of drugs.
up in biotechnology
Europe has fallen quite far behind in the strategic sector of
biotechnology. It lags far behind the United States, and even China
might outstrip it if no remedy is found for chronic underfunding in
this sector. This underfunding can be set down to the low level of risk
capital, the absence of a European stock market for the growing
technological sector, and the weak performance and productivity in
research. There is still time for France and Europe to reposition
themselves in the race by undertaking structural reforms that will make
a strong impact.
innovation: The French model’s efficiency under question
leading role played by the United States in the drug market
Major trends in the supply of drugs in OECD countries take their origin
in the United States, among them: the rising costs of, and longer time
taken by, R&D; the development of a market for generic medication;
and the shorter delays for obtaining the approval of new medical
Insert: France as
seen by big American pharmaceuticals
public policies for supporting pharmaceutical innovation: The United
Kingdom and Spain
The United Kingdom and Spain have set up partnerships with
industrialists and adopted policies for boosting the innovative
pharmaceutical industry. These policies work, if judged by the
dryg-makers’ increasing outlays for R&D in these two countries. Is
France able to take advantage of its neighbors’ experiences?
state policies supporting innovation in biotechnology
Dr. Thomas Reiss and Elena Prats
Government authorities can intervene in the process of innovation in
biotechnology in four fields: the development of basic knowledge and
human resources; the transmission and application of knowledge; demand
and the market; the growth of industry. These policy initiatives should
be complementary and reinforce each other. This is the angle from which
the EU is suggesting a framework program.
innovations and balancing the books of public health
comparisons of drug prices: France at the average European level ?
Christine de Mazières
The government sets the price of most medication in France. For this
reason, industrialists suspect they are not being fairly remunerated
for their efforts in innovation. And state authorities think public
health is costing more than in other countries.
the economic evaluation of medical products by public authorities
Claude Le Pen
Some countries, in particular the United Kingdom, have adopted the
economic assessment of medical products in health policy. In France
however, official policy concerning the costs of health products and
services and their reimbursement hardly mentions it. It is often said
that the studies conducted on this topic are not very credible. The
refusal to economically evaluate medical products and services leads to
incoherency and ends up a blind alley. An awareness of this issue must
medication: From expectations to reality
Developing generic drugs opened the way to significant savings for
public and private insurers. People must now be persuaded to use them.
But generic medication might fall victim to the emerging biotechnology.
parallel trade in medication in the EU: A useful curse?
After thirty years of EU jurisprudence in favor of importing medication
in parallel, the advantages of this for patients, member states and the
construction of Europe are quite limited in comparison with the
disadvantages for innovative firms and research. This approach was
acceptable in view of advancing the common market and in the absence of
major public health problems, but it is coming under question in the
new, bigger Europe. A major turnabout in jurisprudence would be welcome.
France be made more competitive and attractive for the pharmaceutical
For ten years now, France has been the front-ranking producer of
medication in Europe. However there is cause for worry, especially
concerning research and new technology in the field of health.
Pharmaceuticals, though in the throes of change, are probably one of
the most promising branches of industry in this century. Let us make a
virtue out of necessity. To increase France’s force of attraction on
this sort of activity, the main thing to do, besides technical
measures, is to assert a willingness and a clear strategic vision.
Other countries have made this choice. What are we waiting for?
A tribute to to Jean Marmot