22 August 1994 00:00 [Source: ICB]
ENCOURAGING THE sale of generics in France by refunding all drugs which fall within the same therapeutic class on the same basis would only encourage volume sales, warned a recent report commissioned by French health minister Simone Veil.
The report warns against a lump system of refunds, as applied in Germany. It also points out that the problem in France is not the prices of drugs, which are among the lowest in Europe, but the high volume consumed.
In France identical products are offered at various prices and certain drugs under patent are sold more cheaply than generics in Germany or the Netherlands.
The report advises recourse to existing conventions with the pharmaceutical industry and physicians as a 'less risky' way of encouraging the use of generics. So far, generics in France only account for between 1-3% of the pharma market compared to 16% in Germany and 17% in Denmark.
In its efforts to contain drug refund expenditure, the government is preparing a decree involving costly exceptional drugs, like AZT, interferon or cyclosporine, so far only prescribed in hospitals, or the very costly new drugs like Glaxo's anti-migraine sumatriptan. The drugs would be on the general market but would be refunded only for a number of restricted indications.
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