31 March 1997 00:00 [Source: ICB]
A decree published in France's Official Gazette on 14 March giving the official definition of a generic drug, is being heralded as a significant step in opening up France's fledgling generics market.
With FF2.6bn ($4.6m) in sales last year, generics account for only 3% of the prescription drugs market. Growth has been inhibited by price controls which had kept drug prices at a low level in France.
However, during the past year the prices of innovative drugs in France have crept closer to those of other countries. In addition, a number of major pharma companies in France, including Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, Merck, BASF and SmithKline Beecham, have set up generic companies.
More moves will be needed to set the market going, including the listing by the Medicines Agency of generics defined in relation to the original drug as a guide for doctors and pharmacists.
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