PARIS (Reuters) – Pharmaceutical companies Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Haleon fell on the stock market on Thursday, affected by fears that legal proceedings targeting Zantac in the United States could lead to costly decisions.
In 2019, Sanofi withdrew from the American and Canadian markets this treatment for gastric acidity, contaminated by a potentially carcinogenic impurity. And other laboratories, including GSK and Novartis, recalled or interrupted the distribution of their versions of the drug.
Several analysts believe that the lawsuits to come in connection with this file are likely to weigh durably on the stock market prices of the groups concerned because they could lead to significant compensation.
“We do not believe that the elements available make it a new glyphosate but it is very possible that we will arrive at compensation which would amount to billions of dollars”, explain those of Deutsche Bank in a note on GSK and Sanofi, in reference to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide scandal, owned by Bayer.
More than 2,000 complaints against Zantac have been filed in the United States and the first trial is due to open on August 22, followed by collective proceedings in September, Credit Suisse said in a note.
The Swiss bank considers the exposure of Haleon, in which GSK and Pfizer are shareholders, to be limited, and notes that the group has not spent any provision on this file.
Haleon assured at midday that it was not directly concerned by the case, which allowed its action to reduce its losses a little: around 11:15 GMT, the Haleon title lost only 7.48% while GSK gave up 10.02% and that in Paris, Sanofi fell by 9.11%, bringing its decline to more than 16% compared to the close on Tuesday.
The title of the French group suffered on Wednesday from the interruption of the recruitment of clinical trials of tolebrutinib, an experimental treatment for certain forms of multiple sclerosis.
Sanofi’s market capitalization has shrunk by more than 15 billion euros since the start of the week and is approaching the 100 billion threshold.
(Laetitia Volga and Marc Angrand, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)
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