On Tuesday February 2nd France's pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi announced that it would be shedding up to 600 jobs over three years. Just before Christmas another drug maker, Servier, revealed that more than 600 posts will go, while Swiss company Novartis is also discreetly losing up to 200 positions in France. The news of the job losses comes despite the fact that some of the firms are not only profitable but have also been picking up taxpayers' cash aimed at protecting employment. Mathilde Goanec reports.
Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (pictured) last month finally confessed to holding a secret foreign bank account over a period of some 20 years, but he has not publicly disclosed the sums that were paid into it, nor from where they came. However, there has been widespread speculation that the account was used to cash fees paid to Cahuzac for his services, during the 1990s, as a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry. Mediapart has now established that Cahuzac began a lucrative role as lobbyist for a drugs firm just months after leaving his senior post at the French health ministry where he was responsible for the market authorisations of medicines. Mathilde Mathieu and Michaël Hajdenberg report on an extraordinary conflict of interest that also raises serious questions over the conduct of Cahuzac’s former ministerial colleagues who allowed a drug he was lobbying for to continue to be subsidised by the social security system for several years after it was first earmarked to lose its status as a refundable medicine.