France to call for lower drug prices at G7

March 22, 2016

France will announce a campaign to lower the price of new medicines, hoping world powers at the upcoming G7 meeting will put pressure on the pharmaceutical industry, its health minister said Tuesday.

President Francois Hollande will call for drug pricing to be on the agenda at the Group of Seven summit in Japan in May, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine told RMC radio.

Hollande will announce the initiative on Wednesday at a UN meeting on health and in the eastern city of Lyon, which he is co-chairing with South African President Jacob Zuma.

Touraine said Hollande would call for greater cooperation between countries on drug pricing.

"Currently each country negotiates by itself," she said.

"We should determine a process, to see how we can be stronger together to put pressure on drug prices," she added.

Touraine cited the exorbitant prices paid for Hepatitus C treatments in France as an example of the "unsustainable" costs of many drugs.

"We must determine prices in a way that is sustainable for France's social security system, and the systems of other countries, while, obviously, guaranteeing a return on investment for the industry," she said.

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