FRENCH HEALTH REFORMS HIT DRUG SECTOR JOBS

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France's drug sector is creating fewer and fewer jobs each year, according to pharmaceutical industry association LEEM. The group points to recent statistics which claim that only 550 jobs were created last year -- a rise of just 0.5% -- bringing total workforce numbers to 99,400. This compares to an average of 1,000 new pharmaceuticals sector jobs created each year in the 1990s.

Industry observers blame the poor performance on recent government measures to cut drug expenditure. These have included reducing the number of drugs available for reimbursement, as well as restricting doctor prescribing, and are allegedly making the country a less attractive location for the industry. Further, the international pharmaceutical community continues to blame red tape for a 25% decline in drug trials in the past six years.

LEEM has warned the government about the impact of restrictive economic conditions on the pharmaceutical industry, claiming that the sector could begin to mirror Germany's -- which has seen jobs declining 7% in the past decade.

However, not all observers are so pessimistic, with some economists pointing to the fact that in France, pharmaceuticals is one of the few industries that has continued to create jobs despite extensive restructuring. They note that employment in the drug sector has actually expanded by 20% in the past ten years, compared to a decline of roughly 8% in other industries.