The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the failure of a globalized system. With the absence of exchange of flows between countries, the risk of shortage is real, thus leading to significant consequences. "Everyone saw that drugs that seemed usual were no longer produced in France and in Europe. We must draw all the consequences”, Emmanuel Macron, June 16, 2020.

The will of the President of the France is simple, he wants France to regain its health sovereignty. Initially, an envelope of 200 million euros was distributed to finance production infrastructure as well as research and development. As a second step, another envelope should be distributed for autonomy.

This awareness, late, was born with the Covid. The tension in the supply of essential drugs (paracetamol, painkillers, anesthetics, antibiotics, etc.) have deeply marked this crisis. Its origin is not the place of manufacture of drugs, they are produced in Europe, but in that of the active ingredient. (Remember that a drug is made up of two elements, the active ingredient is the molecule that is responsible for the therapeutic effect. Excipients facilitate their absorption by the body).

The active ingredients are manufactured in an overwhelming majority in Asia (India and China) for 80% of the world production. This establishment is linked to a cost reduction policy on the part of large laboratories, with the practice of relocation. Even if part of the production of generic drugs has already been repatriated to the old container, for reasons of health and safety but also for competitiveness.

This trend is accentuated by other phenomenon such as the reduction of the production cost gap (it is now only 10 to 20%). This gap can be explained by the upgrading of Asian production plants to environmental standards, but also by the increase in wages locally. There would also be an economic gain, in particular on the repatriation of drugs to Europe because production would already be on site. There would also be a benefit for the environment with the reduction of air transport, the main source of pollution.

However, this desire could take several years to see the light of day. Drug production plants are ICPEs subject to very strict legislation, which subsequently required more than five years to build a plant and several hundred million euros.