“Every minute in the world, 40,000 people inhale a dose of Ventolin (to fight asthma attacks) that we manufacture here in Évreux,” assures Thibault Desmarest, France president of the pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline. A gesture that has become trivial for 35 million people but whose carbon footprint is not negligible and for which GSK announced this Friday an investment of 350 million euros to develop three new low-carbon Ventolin production lines by 2025 .
“Today, each cylinder represents 28 kg of CO2, or one trip by thermal engine car from Évreux to Marne-la-Vallée,” explains an employee of the group. The cause is the gas used in the device, which represents more than 50% of the group’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 2021, a formulation of a new Ventolin has been under study, emitting ten times less greenhouse gases, with “very good clinical results”, swears the president of the Évreux site, Philippe Doucet : “This product will also heal the planet. We are extremely proud of that. »
Bruno Le Maire hails “a model of virtuous industry”
“Be proud to welcome one of the largest investments in the pharmaceutical sector in 5 years,” greeted Bruno Le Maire, who came specially to Évreux for the occasion. For the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, this project “shows what industry in France should be: an efficient and carbon-free industry”.
When he was a UMP deputy for the first constituency of Eure, where GSK is based, Bruno Le Maire saw the strikes and fears of job cuts. “Ten years ago, 300 jobs were threatened, there was no question of opening new production lines but of closing them,” recalled the minister.
“A model of virtuous industry” in the words of Bruno Le Maire, low-carbon Ventolin ensures “the future of the Évreux factory for several decades”. This news is in line with the government’s industrial policy of attracting private financing, by supporting the sector with tax credits on green investments. “I want factories to open, I want construction sites. I want engineers to be trained, I want there to be women engineers with quotas. I want tax cuts on production. This is the direction that we must follow,” insisted the minister.
To support the 350 million invested by GSK, the government is still negotiating with the pharmaceutical group, but “we are talking about 5 to 15% of public aid”, slips a technical advisor from Bercy. Support which, in the immediate future, does not allow the creation of new jobs. If it is planned to redeploy current jobs to the new units, at GSK, we hope, perhaps, for a fourth production line in the future.
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