What lies ahead for the pharmaceutical sector in France?
Following the recent presidential election and before the Parliamentary elections in France, Marcel Lechanteur, President of Lilly France and Benelux, discusses the main issues for our sector.
The French people have just elected their new President. Could you share your thoughts on the results of this election?
We have no political comment on the French elections, however, as an industrial actor investing in France, we follow closely the evolution of the French political landscape and the various projects that allow us to continue investing heavily in France. We have the largest manufacturing site worldwide in France, in Fegersheim (Alsace). This site is equipped with leading-edge technologies in terms of industrial manufacturing processes, and is a pioneer in many technical fields. It largely exploits the technical, academic and scientific potential of its territory, and exports more than 95% of what it produces to more than one hundred countries on five continents.
In your opinion, what are the most urgent measures that need to be taken by the new President of the Republic in order to strengthen France's attractiveness in the pharmaceutical sector?
The pharmaceutical industry is a strategic sector in France thanks to the presence of very large companies but also of SMEs, manufacturers and a very good academic network. R&D and productive investments are massive. Industrialists need visibility and predictability, which also seem to be an objective for our new President, according to statements made during the campaign. In particular, I am convinced that continuing a constructive dialogue between public and private actors through the Strategic Committee for Healthcare Industries (CSIS) and the Health Sector Committee (CSF-Santé) is a key factor for the health system and the French economy.
It seems to us that two measures supported during the presidential campaign by Emmanuel Macron tend in that direction: the transformation of the Tax Credit for Competitiveness and Employment into a sustainable reduction of employer charges would indeed allow a more competitive charge level. We estimate that the conversion of the current budget to reduce expenses would reduce the employer contributions based on wages by 5%. Similarly, the maintenance of the Research Tax Credit (CIR), a particularly effective tool in strengthening the attractiveness of France, is essential. The various affiliates are competing in the Group to attract new clinical trials. The CIR makes it possible for France to differentiate itself and be more attractive in terms of research.
As regards medicines, what will be the major issue of this five-year term?
Currently, one of the major issues is to allow our health care system to adjust to ageing population and to adapt to the chronicization of some pathologies, as cancers, while encouraging innovation, especially therapeutic and organizational, at all levels.
As regards medicine itself, Emmanuel Macro has declared during the election campaign that he wishes to encourage therapeutic innovations and “pay medicines at the right price”. I’m fully aware of our responsibility to all be in a constructive move to allow France to be in the forefront of innovation while giving at the same time access to innovation to all, which is a founding principle of our health care system. I also mean speeding access to innovation, especially reimbursement of conditional market authorizations with phase II studies for medicines that offer patients real innovations. We have to go further on this topic.
You mentioned the organizational innovation, what do you mean exactly?
A very hard work is in progress to facilitate the link between city medicine and hospital services and it has to be continued with all health actors (hospital funding which could not only be based on activities, revaluation of health care journeys…). We’re also convinced that efficiency improvement is linked to digital development and new technological evolutions. These innovations could enable patients to be more concerned about their health and their medical treatment. Telemedicine is a good example that needs to be encouraged.