France's drug spending will shrink for first time, IMS says

Call it the French retrench.

After two years of no growth, the drug market in France is projected to shrink 1% to 2%, its first reduction ever, reports Reuters.

That differs from the rest of Europe and the U.S. market, which are projected to see at least moderate growth. The evaluation, made by pharma research firm IMS, says emerging markets will see growth of 13% to 16%. That, of course, is why drugmakers are expanding in those markets.

France in November laid out a new government cost-cutting plan that targets about €700 million ($933 million) in health savings. Part of that comes from further squeezes on the prices it will pay for both generics and branded medications. Making it even more difficult for pharma manufacturers to make money there, Reuters reminds that France also hit them with a special sales tax of 1.6 percent starting this year and running through 2014.

- check out the Reuters story