PANDEMIC FORCES FRANCE TO MULL RELOCATION OF PHARMA PRODUCTION
France, which had lost 27,000 of its citizens to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now agonizing over the fact that 80% of its pharmaceutical production facilities are located in Asia specifically China and India, and French President Emmanuel Macron, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and Prime Minister Édouard Philippe are keen on repatriating production to France or Europe.
The shortage of medicines, masks, swabs and gloves has forced a rethinking of globalization and reignited a movement for France to produce medicines for the French, with FRANCE24 reporting on May 15, 2020 that Philippe Lamoureux, managing director of Leem, the umbrella of pharmaceutical companies operating in France, has echoed the call. "This pandemic has made us aware of our degree of dependence on Asia," Lamoureux argued.
"Let's not hide the facts: we have become subcontractors," explains Lamoureux, speaking with FRANCE 24. Out of 61 European marketing authorizations in 2019, only five drugs were produced in France. This puts France in sixth place in Europe, far behind Germany (20), Ireland (15), Italy (11), the United Kingdom (10) and the Netherlands (9). "Ten years ago, France was in first place,” he added, thanks to new drugs developed inside the territory. Today, however, France mainly manufactures old drugs.
France is home to one of the world's giants in the sector: Sanofi. It is considered to be the eighth largest laboratory in the world in terms of turnover. And the multinational company does not miss an opportunity to show its patriotism. Eighteen of its 40 European plants are located in France. "We produce in Europe for Europe, in Asia for Asia and in America for America," says Philippe Luscan, Sanofi’s vice president in charge of Industrial Affairs speaking with FRANCE 24. "For 30 years, I have been pleading for production sites to be linked to the territories. I have never believed in a France without factories or in an omnipotent China. The COVID-19 crisis reinforces my convictions in the defense of a national industry." #coronavirusimpact #COVID19