Two eminent French medical experts say half of the drugs sold in France are either useless or bad for patients’ health. According to Philippe Even, former head of the Necker Hospital in Paris, and Bernard Debre, a doctor and member of parliament for the opposition UMP party, one in two medicines sold in pharmacies have no health value and five percent have adverse effects, France 24 news network reported. Even said that he and Debre decided to conduct the study in the wake of the scandal, which haunted France's second largest pharmaceutical, Servier. The company falsified documents to get Mediator pill marketed as a diabetic drug although they were aware of its appetite-suppressant qualities. The drug was pulled off the shelves in 2009 by French health authorities amid concerns that it had fatal side-effects. Even and Debre wrote in their book titled “The Guide to 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines” that France could save up to ten billion euros a year by halting social security reimbursements for drugs that have absolutely no health benefit or are actively harmful.
The duo blamed pressure from the pharmaceutical industry on government and doctors for forcing ineffective drugs on the market.France is the world’s fifth-largest consumer of pharmaceuticals, behind the United States, China, Germany and Ireland. The average French citizen has 47 medicine packs or prescription in their medical cabinet every year. The cost of those medicines is around 532 euros per person, which equates to 12 percent of the French Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The French government covers 77 percent of the spending on medicines. MP/JR