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Prescrire's Drug Awards for 2014: a good vintage

Prescrire Drug AwardsIndependent French medical journal Prescrire held its annual awards in Paris on 29 January. This year a "Pilule d'Or" ("Golden Pill") was handed out for the first time in six years, with three drugs added to the "Honours List" and one deemed "Noteworthy".

Prescrire's annual Drug Awards recognise new drugs, or new indications for drugs already on the market, which represent tangible progress for patients.
This year, Prescrire's Drug Awards honoured five drugs: one received the "Pilule d'Or", which hadn't been awarded in the past 6 years. Three drugs were added to Prescrire's "Honours List" and one was rated "Noteworthy".

"Pilule d'Or" ("Golden Pill")

  • Cholic acid (Orphacol°) represents a major therapeutic advance for children suffering from rare hereditary bile acid deficiencies, which are often fatal.

Honours List

  • Imatinib (Glivec°) significantly prolongs survival in children suffering from a rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
  • Intravenous artesunate (Malacef°), the first-choice treatment for severe attacks of malaria, is available in France under a temporary authorisation for use (ATU).   
  • Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi°), an antiviral used in chronic hepatitis C, shortens the treatment time, thus reducing the toxicity of the other drugs used.  


  • The coating on sodium phenylbutyrate granules (Phenurane°) masks the drug's unpleasant taste, which caused nausea and vomiting and interfered with treatment compliance, and so prolongs the survival of patients suffering from a rare urea synthesis disorder.

This is the biggest crop of Prescrire Drug Awards in 20 years.

Let us hope, for the sake of patients, that this year is not an exception but the beginning of a sustainable trend.

©Prescrire 1 February 2015

"The Prescrire Awards 2014" Prescrire Int 2015 ; 24 (158) : 74-79. (pdf, free)

Download the full review
Pdf, free

Cholic acid (Orphacol°):
major improvement in
some bile acid deficiencies
(February 2015)

The Prescrire Drug
Awards for 2014
(February 2015)