drug companies want tax relief

A few days after the presentation, on Monday, September 26, of the Social Security financing bill, whose objective is to determine the Government’s budgetary guidelines in terms of health spending for 2023, the discomfort extends to the industrialists of the medication. Among the tense issues: the safeguard clause, a specific tax on the pharmaceutical sector, the amount of which skyrocketed in 2021. Concerned, the laboratories have been calling for several months to review the terms, but disagree on the corrections to be made. .

Created in 1999, this fiscal contribution, which has already undergone four revisions since 2015, aims to guarantee compliance with the national health insurance spending goal. To this end, each year it sets a billing threshold for all pharmaceutical manufacturers on sales of reimbursable medicines, established based on market growth forecasts. If this red line is exceeded, the laboratories are collectively deducted, in proportion to their turnover, from a part of their profits.

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A mechanism that drives sellers of generic drugs and mature products. The latter deplore, among other things, having to pay the bill in the same proportion as the original drug laboratories, although they already allow the State to save money by marketing cheaper copies of drugs than the originals.

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“We save the community between 2,500 and 3,000 million euros a year. Our ten largest generic laboratories have a profitability of only 2%, which is half that of our European neighbours. We should preserve this sector instead of hitting ourselves with a carbon tax, while riding electric bikes”stresses Stéphane Joly, president of Gemme, the professional organization of generic drug manufacturers.

“excessive amount”

The specialists in generics demand a review of the terms of this tax, whose cost should not, according to them, be calculated only on the turnover of the laboratories, but also on its real contribution to the growth of the market.

In their sights are originator drugmakers, whose innovative products, particularly expensive (sometimes several thousand euros) cancer drugs and rare disease treatments, are derailing government drug spending targets . “The problem is not really the way in which the safeguard clause is distributed, but the excessive amount of this clause and its increasingly worrying evolution”defends Philippe Lamoureux, CEO of LEEM, the professional organization of pharmaceutical companies.

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