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French Generics Market

For sometime now French generics have been considered, by all concerned, as the market sector containing the most potential in all of the European Union (EU). France represents one of the highest per capita consumers of pharmaceuticals in the world. Its pharmaceutical market is also one of the world’s largest with estimated total spending valued in the region of € 30 billions in 2004.

It is also reported that the level of spending, which is well above the EU average, is attributed to the strict government control of the pharmaceutical sector. Historically, prices have been kept low and the high level of State responsibility for expenditure has meant that neither the doctor nor the patient have had any incentive to limit the amount of drugs consumed.

However, in recent times the industry has been the target of government’s attempts to limit healthcare expenditure. Cautious limits have been placed on doctors prescribing activities. In the meantime the industry has been subjected to a series of taxes and other charges. Government cost containment measures has spurred an expansion of the French generics market. Hitherto, the expected expansion has faltered in the past few years. Not so very long ago generic volume was set at around 5%. Although growth has began to accelerate, it is still considered under-developed. Current estimates put the French generics market at around 20% of total in volume terms and 10% in value.

The potential size of the market cannot be denied or under-estimated. With the French pharmaceutical market the second largest in Europe, behind Germany, the generics sector is currently valued at € 520 millions with tremendous growth potential. With recent steps taken by the French government to promote generics, experts have reported an expected growth this year in the region of 33%. With substitution already allowed in France, it remains to be seen whether government pressure will result in the expected growth.

Martin Paltnoi

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