French govt unlikey to relinquish grip on health spending, says BMI

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmacology

Despite the government’s “aggressive” promotion of generic drugs, pharmaceutical spending in France will continue to grow, according to new analysis by Business Monitor International (BMI).

The “France Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare report Q4 2009​” predicts that spending on drugs in the country is increasing 2.6 per cent a year and that the total market will be worth some €38.8bn ($57.1bn) by 2013

BMI suggests that France’s traditionally high prescribing and drug usage rates will continue to expand the market, with generics, rather than branded medicines, being the key growth driver.

The authors forecast, for example, that spending on non-branded pharmaceuticals is increasing 12.7 per cent a year and will account for around 14 per cent of the total drug market by 2013.

While, if accurate, this prediction will clearly benefit leading generics players like Israel’s Teva, it could also be a boon for the growing number of innovative drugmakers that have bolstered their non-branded portfolios in recent months in response to impending patent loss for key products.

France’s Sanofi Aventis is a prime example. In April, the firm bought two South American generics companies, Mexico’s Laboratorios Kendrick and Brazil’s Medley, in a concerted strategy to increase its presence in the region and expand its portfolio of non-branded drugs.

Also this year, UK drug major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) bought 16 per cent of South Africa generics firm Aspen Pharmacare, Swiss compatriot Novartis bolstered its Sandoz unit with Ebewe Pharma’s non-branded injectables unit and US giant Pfizer signed licensing agreements with non-branded manufacturers Aurobindo and Claris Lifesciences in India.

French OTC expansion

Additionally, the BMI report predicts that usage of OTCs in France will increase, citing a June reimbursement deal between major health insurer, AGF-Allianz, and a group representing 33 per cent of the nation’s pharmacies as a likely growth factor.

The BMI analysts also predicts that as many as 3,000 drugs may switch to OTC status in the medium term.

This, they suggest, could lead to volume growth and competition, although they concede that this is difficult to forecast given that, in the past, the price of some OTCs rose when removed from reimbursement lists.

The report can be purchased here.

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