France to manufacture more essential drugs at home to fight shortages 

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a plan to boost and expand essential drug production on French territory in an effort to prevent shortages.  

For anyone who has ever been to the pharmacy only to find that the medicine they need is unavailable or out of stock, this will be music to the ears.  

During a trip to the Ardèche on 13th June, Macron declared his intentions to bring the manufacturing of essential medicines back to France. This fits with his overall philosophy of making the country industrially sovereign, but also makes sense after the periodic shortages of vital medications experienced since 2020.   

50 of the most essential drugs that are currently being produced outside of French territory and imported in have been identified as priorities and include such medications as insulin, paracetamol and amoxicillin.  

Additionally, antiseptics, anti-epileptics, antibiotics and anti-diabetics are amongst the medicine categories affected by supply shortages, and that health care workers and pharmacists have previously been clambering for.  

Of this group, half will see either a complete or significant increase in production on national territory within the next five years. This project is being funded by a major government investment.  

A €160 million investment plan

Taking to social media, Macron said, “We are investing more than €160 million to strengthen our health sovereignty and relocate the production of our essential medicines back to France.” 

In total, there is a list of 450 drugs that are set to be “repatriated” by manufacturers in due course. A broader plan to combat shortages will be added to and modified according to health situations and need. 

Whilst ambitious, this falls short of what has been reported as a list of 3,000 drugs in short supply, though France is not alone. Other European nations experienced similar deficits over winter. Italy, for example, ran completely out of 554 medicines and was short on 3,000 in total.  

The French shortages are odd, though, as the nation was once the leading producer of drugs in the EU until 2008, when Switzerland, Germany and Italy breezed past to put the French in fourth place.  

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