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WikiLeaks paper reveals attempt by US Big Pharma cartel to take over France's health industry in a neocolonial style under Sarkozy presidency

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review.  
 
 
A late 2009 cable from the US embassy in Paris - France, reveals an attempt by a US Big Pharma cartel to take full control of the French health industry. 
 
It appears that AGIPHARM was pushing for total neoliberalization of the sector. Two main targets in areas of maximum interest were the abolition of the labor regulative framework and the monopolization of the generic drugs market against low-cost manufacturing countries like China, India and Brazil.
 
A very interesting piece reveals that the cartel was openly seeking to exploit the highly qualified French labor potential in the research and development fields, as well as the related government funding. At the same time, the cartel was indirectly demanding a "flexible" labor legislative framework, while also seeking to minimize union power:

                                All CEOs noted that French tax credits on Research and Development, plus the highly qualified French scientific and technical personnel, make France an excellent location for R and D. Unfortunately, the rigid labor laws and the extremely complex consultations with unions required for almost any change have given France a poor image in U.S. corporate headquarters.

The cartel was also demanding from the French government to open the road for it, in order to take over the generic drags market, using the threat of massive job losses. A typical, neoliberal tactic by the big corporate monopolies:

                              A second very positive point: to prevent subcontractors from manufacturing generic drugs in low-cost countries like China, India and Brazil, which could siphon off 5,000 French jobs, the President's plan allows companies to produce generics in France a few weeks before patents expire so that products can be ready for sale as soon as the patent ends.

Also, in a power demonstration, the cable points out the significant presence of the US Big Pharma cartel in France:

                              AGIPHARM member companies have created approximately 18,000 direct jobs in France. This represents 18 percent of the total workforce in France's pharmaceutical industry. 

Most important parts [emphasis added]:
 
Ambassador Rivkin met with the board of AGIPHARM, the association of American pharmaceutical subsidiaries in France to review the results of President Sarkozy's pharmaceutical strategy conference (CSIS) held on October 26. AGIPHARM considers that the CSIS yielded important breakthroughs but that key issues remain.  
 
AGIPHARM asked Ambassador and EEB A/S Jose Fernandez to support high level participation by USG and senior American pharmaceutical executives. 

President Sarkozy's advisor for health, Raphael Radanne met subsequently with FCS [Foreign Commercial Service] to explore themes of mutual interest for the conference. These include addressing a perception that rigid French labor laws detract from an otherwise excellent investment climate for research and development in France, presenting the American model for public private partnerships in the pharmaceutical industry and considering best practices from the French healthcare system. Radanne agreed to promote the conference at the ministerial level of the GOF [Government Of France]. We understand that French Ambassador Pierre Vimont and former Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin have already committed to attend the conference. AGIPHARM will meet with Radanne in January to develop a detailed agenda for the conference.
 
AGIPHARM members are: Abbott, Amgen, Baxter, Biogen IDEC, Bristol-Myers Squibb BMS, Cephalon, Gilead, Janssen-Cilag, Lilly, Merck Sharp and Dohme MSD, Mundipharma, Pfizer, Procter and Gamble, Schering-Plough. AGIPHARM member companies have created approximately 18,000 direct jobs in France. This represents 18 percent of the total workforce in France's pharmaceutical industry. 
 
A second very positive point: to prevent subcontractors from manufacturing generic drugs in low-cost countries like China, India and Brazil, which could siphon off 5,000 French jobs, the President's plan allows companies to produce generics in France a few weeks before patents expire so that products can be ready for sale as soon as the patent ends. In France, the generics market represents 20 percent of the drug market, compared to 4 percent in 2004. France has been promoting generic drugs as part of overall healthcare reforms.  

On December 8, CEOs of 14 U.S. subsidiaries briefed the Ambassador on key issues concerning operations and sales in France. For most U.S. firms, France represents the largest market outside of the United States. All CEOs noted that French tax credits on Research and Development, plus the highly qualified French scientific and technical personnel, make France an excellent location for R and D. Unfortunately, the rigid labor laws and the extremely complex consultations with unions required for almost any change have given France a poor image in U.S. corporate headquarters.

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), for example, fascinate the GOF, but the GOF tends to view this as a way to gain private sector financing for government projects. AGIPHARM, by contrast, wants to see PPPs lead to greater cooperation on epidemiological data bases, which could serve as a measure of effectiveness of innovative products.

While France has a lot to offer as a place for research and development, there continues to be an image problem in U.S. HQs regarding the rigidity of the labor market. Radanne acknowledged this image problem in the U.S. business community.
 
It appears also that the French government and even the president himself were more than willing to satisfy the demands of the US cartel. And even in the only one area where they seemed to have different views - that is on Public Private Partnerships - the cartel was also demanding from the French government to retreat towards cartel's interests:
 
                              Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), for example, fascinate the GOF, but the GOF tends to view this as a way to gain private sector financing for government projects. AGIPHARM, by contrast, wants to see PPPs lead to greater cooperation on epidemiological data bases, which could serve as a measure of effectiveness of innovative products. 
 
What's perhaps most impressive, is that the US cartel was essentially dictating its terms to the French government through the US embassy, in a neocolonial style. That is, a corporate cartel was using a Western neocolonial power to impose terms to another Western neocolonial power! It's an impressively characteristic example of how much power has been accumulated by the multinational corporations  in the post-capitalist era of the 21st century corporate feudalism.
 

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