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European generics manufacturers want French government to promote generics more

31 Август 2016

European generics manufacturers want the French government to take more measures to encourage the development of a market that lags considerably behind those in other countries, the president of industry body Medicines for Europe Jacek Glinka has told APM.

While the generic penetration rate for Europe as a whole works out at between 50% and 60% of volumes consumed, in France it is around 30%, 20 years after this key way to reduce health insurance expenditure was written into the public health code.

According to the authorities, just over three boxes of reimbursed drugs in every 10 are generics, compared with three out of every four in Germany and the UK.

For the manufacturers, the French situation is due to successive price cuts, which reduce generics manufacturers’ means of promoting their products, and to doctors’ and patients’ lack of confidence in generics, whose efficacy and quality are regularly brought into question.

Glinka said that the authorities do not sufficiently encourage the development of the market.

“Without government action, the market cannot get better,” added Glinka, who is also president of Mylan Europe. This is demonstrated by the “repertoire” which includes generics and their proprietary drugs: its creation pushed substitution levels up substantially, to more than 80%. “More incentives are needed, along with measures to make doctors and patients push up the generic market share,” Glinka said.

In a country which is seeking savings, “I cannot understand why generics are not promoted more,” said Medicines for Europe director general Adrian Van den Hoven, also questioned by APM on Tuesday.

Glinka said that generic products “can’t promote themselves,” as generic pharma companies do not have the same means as research pharma groups to invest in marketing and publicity.

He emphasised that generics are a source of savings and improve patient access to drugs, and he called for more teaching and communication.

In March 2015, the French authorities presented a national plan to promote generics which aims to ensure 350 million euros more in savings over three years through developing generic prescriptions. (APMHE 41993) (APMHE 46982)

One of its flagship measures is an information campaign, which was launched at the start of summer, targeting health professionals. September will see health minister Marisol Touraine launch the part of the campaign which is aimed at the general public.

According to Glinka, generics manufacturers “made a pact” with the authorities to accept price cuts in return for market development (and therefore increased volumes) through the national action plan.

However, they were taken off guard by price cuts announced by the French economic committee for health products (CEPS) in March, although some of these were partly retracted in April (APMHE 47069) (APMHE 47346).

“The information campaign should have begun earlier” and “before the price cuts,” said Glinka.

Generics manufacturers are expecting new price cuts to coincide with the draft social security budget bill (PLFSS) for 2017, which is due to be presented in autumn.

Medicines for Europe was formerly known as the European Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association – EGA.

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