Insider Insights

Price cuts for generics could exacerbate ongoing problem with drug shortages in France  


In mid-December, Economic Committee for health Products (CEPs) announced a price reduction of around €67 million that would concern 7% of the French generics market. 

Representatives across the pharmaceutical industry fear this will lead to a worsening in stock shortages. The price reductions in concern would see medicines such at metformin, an antidiabetic drug, currently sold at €1.27 per box reduced to €1.11 per box. 

In response to these price cuts manufacturers and pharmacists’ unions actions announced included a boycott the meeting at the Ministry of Health of the generic monitoring committee, and a campaign to inform patients, including a poster on the link between too low prices and shortages of medicines produced by USPO. 

This issue exacerbates the ongoing problem of drug shortages in France, and access to medicines for patients. Leem recalled prices of drugs in France to be “among the lowest in Europe: 40% cheaper than in Switzerland, 33% cheaper than in Germany”. Leem warn this could lead to manufacturers viewing France as an unfavourable market for their products. Further highlighting the issue for Generic drugs, the manager of Biogaran, a leader in generics, commented “we went into negative margin on 160 references of essential drugs, mostly made in France and worth less than €5 per box”. 

According to a study by EY, France is only one of the major European markets to have experienced a contraction in the drug market between 2018-2021.  



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