Macron unveils plans to relocate production of key drugs to France

French President Macron takes part in a one-day trip dedicated to French industrial sovereignty

PARIS (Reuters) -President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday unveiled plans to relocate the production of key medicines to France to tackle shortages of imported products, ranging from antibiotics to paracetamol, that came into focus during the COVID epidemic.

Macron, who was visiting pharmaceutical laboratories in the Ardeche region, said the government had drawn up a list of 450 molecules for which it was key to secure supply chains.

The list comprises a "core list" of 50 drugs, half of which will see their production re-located to France or significantly increased in the coming weeks, Macron said.

"The long-term solution to avoid shortages in our pharmacies is to bring back our factories. That is what we are doing for many drugs," Macron had said in a tweet ahead of his visit.

Macron also cited in his tweet an investment of 22 million euros ($24 million) from British health group GSK to modernise its existing amoxicillin antibiotic production site in the Mayenne region of western France, and to hire staff.

The antibiotic, which is most prescribed to children to treat infections, is regularly out of stock.

($1 = 0.9258 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)