The sale could disrupt the production of medicines in France. Biogaran, French market leader for the production of generics, risks passing into the hands of Indian buyers. The laboratory, which produces 32% of generics in France, was put up for sale last year by parent company Servier. Despite a turnover of 750 million euros in 2023, the company now finds itself in difficulty. Four candidates are said to be in the running for its takeover, including two Indian generic drug producers: Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Aurobindo Pharma. India is seen as “the pharmacy of the world” with nearly 45% of medicines, particularly generics, manufactured in the country. Facing these Indian players are two European investment funds, including BC Partners and a fund in tandem with a French industrialist.

For Frédéric Bizard, president of the Health Institute, who spoke this Thursday morning on Franceinfo, this configuration was “predictable since the parent company had announced that it wanted to sell its subsidiary to invest in particular in oncology or in any case in innovation specialties”. Servier takes on these projects and specifies that, “as with any company, strategic reviews are regular to maximize the potential of our activities”. The group affirms “that no decision has been made regarding Biogaran”.

This potential takeover by foreign producers could undermine France’s sovereignty because “Biogaran is approximately one in six drugs that the French consume,” notes Frédéric Bizard. “This is a strategic issue for the question of its industrial footprint, since this group employs around forty producers in France. It therefore has an indirect industrial footprint since it does not have a factory but employs subcontractors. »

On the government side, we are aware that this issue is highly flammable. The political class quickly took up the subject, like Xavier Bertrand, LR president of the Hauts-de-France regional council, who asked “the executive to oppose this sale”. “They have the means,” assures the elected official, “there are jobs to be had. » Biogaran in fact represents 240 direct jobs and more than 8,000 indirect jobs among its subcontractors. A call which seems to have been heard this Wednesday afternoon by the Minister of Industry, Roland Lescure, who assures that he “has a weapon”. “We have a foreign investment procedure in France that we can mobilize. We can put conditions on these occasions, or even refuse them,” underlines the minister.

Concretely, this procedure would make it possible to “impose necessary and proportionate conditions to guarantee elements: both the industrial footprint (that the actors remain on the national territory) and the health sovereignty of France (the marketing of medicines on the French market)”, details the minister’s office. “We will look at the files very closely as we do for all takeover files in strategic sectors, obviously the medicines sector is one of them,” indicates Roland Lescure. His speech coincides with that of the president, Emmanuel Macron, who recalled last June that “the objective” was to “produce in France the medicines essential to our lives”.