Public Policy Dynamics France #5
Health and Politics in France
|Total COVID-19 cases:||3,963,165|
|14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:||431.97|
|Total COVID-19 deaths:||89,591|
- The National Assembly has adopted the single article of the bill enshrining environmental protection in the Constitution, a necessary step before the referendum announced by Emmanuel Macron.
- A new Strategic Council for Health Industries (CSIS) has been launched by several ministries. This consultative body facilitates dialogue between the State and the medical industries (drugs, technologies, and medical devices). The Council's ambition is to make France the leading innovative and sovereign European nation in the field of health.
- The general public health situation continues to deteriorate. Several departments, such as the Pas-de-Calais and the Alpes-Maritimes, are facing a partial lockdown on weekends, and several other regions are likely to face territorialised measures. The Government is counting on the acceleration of the vaccination strategy to avoid a new general or partial lockdown.
- The National Assembly on 10 March adopted the sole article of the bill integrating environmental protection into the Constitution. The text will still have to be adopted by the Senate in the same terms, but it opens the way to the organisation of a referendum on the integration, in article 1 of the Constitution, of the preservation of the environment as a founding principle of the Republic. This measure is considered by most experts and political representatives as a political move, with a very strong symbolic weight.
- Beyond Parliament, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison (two years of suspended jail sentence and one year of actual prison time) for influence peddling and corruption, in the so-called "wiretapping" trial. This is the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a former President has been sentenced to actual prison time. This conviction comes one year before the next presidential election, ahead of which many right-wing personalities were dreaming of his return to politics. Sarkozy announced that he will appeal the decision.
- A new Strategic Council for Health Industries (CSIS) has been launched by several ministries. This purely consultative body, which last met in 2018, provides a forum for dialogue between the State and the industry (drugs, technologies, and medical devices). The Council's ambition is to make France the leading innovative and sovereign European nation in the field of health. The aim of this new edition is to offset the French weaknesses revealed during the Covid-19 health crisis, particularly in terms of research, vaccine production and access to innovations. Five strategic axes have been set on the themes of innovation, fundamental research, market access, industrialisation of health products, and the training of professionals. The council’s conclusions are expected in June.
- Complementing the work of the new council, the Economic Committee for Health Products (CEPS), an inter-ministerial body responsible for setting the prices of medicines reimbursed by compulsory health insurance, and the French Pharmaceutical Companies Association (LEEM) signed a framework agreement on 5 March. One of the emblematic measures adopted in this document, which was welcomed by the ministers of health, social security, and the economy, is the reduction of the time required to bring a drug to market. With this new framework agreement, the French healthcare authorities hope to make the French market more attractive for pharmaceutical industrials.
- Separately, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran on 11 March announced the launch of a new national plan for the development of palliative care and support at the end of life. The minister was speaking before the examination by the High Chamber of a bill of the Socialists (PS) to recognise the right to benefit, under conditions, of active assistance to die (medical assistance to suicide and euthanasia). This is the 5th national plan on the subject.
- The general public health situation continues to deteriorate. Several departments, such as the Pas-de-Calais and the Alpes-Maritimes, are facing a partial lockdown on weekends. The Île-de-France region is still one of the regions most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Government is postponing the enforcement of a new lockdown. The occupancy rate of intensive care beds, which is close to 90%, has increased by 30% over the last three weeks in Île-de-France. The Regional healthcare Agency (Agence régionale de santé – ARS) has ordered the deprogramming of 40% of the less urgent medical and surgical activities.
- The executive power is counting on the acceleration of the vaccination campaign to avoid a new partial or national containment. The campaign will be sped up, with the AstraZeneca vaccine being extended to people over 65 years old, and the vaccination by new health professionals such as pharmacists.