Special Reports

10 Stereotypes about Big Pharma

1. Big Pharma aims to corrupt doctors. Pierre Frouard, GP and a contributor to Prescrire magazine, published by the association Mieux Prescrire [Prescribe Better]. FALSE – Corruption is illegal and remains very rare. On the other hand, there are legal ways to influence doctors, for example through gifts or contracts. Since 2013, under the terms of the Bertrand law of 2011, such gifts and contracts must be listed online, and this information can be accessed by anyone, for example via www.eurosfordocs.fr. Ironically, this effort at transparency, put in place following the Mediator scandal in 2010, serves to legitimize such practices. Studies show that gift-giving induces the recipient to respond by giving something in return. The problem is that doctors aren’t always aware of how they are being influenced, and this influence can begin very early in one’s career. A medical student surrounded by doctors who accept such gifts can, little by little, come to believe that this is just standard practice. According to a study I recently coordinated, which confirms the results of earlier studies, general practitioners who did not receive any gifts between 2013 and 2016 had a better record concerning prescriptions: their prescriptions were generally both cheaper and more effective. The good news is that young doctors are becoming more and more aware of the importance of maintaining their independence. 2. Leading pharmaceuticals companies lobby to discredit unconventional medicines. Annabelle Champagne (M.08), pharmacist, managing director and founder of Wi Pharma, an application for the distribution of pharmaceutical and […]

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10 Questions about the Geopolitics of the Web

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee and a few others created the World Wide Web based on the principles of universality, openness and free services. Has this...

David Akpamagbo (H.08) : The Cream of the Crop

David Akpamagbo (H.08) is a cattle-raiser and craftsman based in Brittany’s Finistère region. His butter, with its subtle nuances that vary with the seasons,...

Ariane: Driving Force in the European Space Sector

The rocket, first launched 40 years ago, has raised Europe to the ranks of global space-sector leaders. And, Ariane has become number one in...

10 Questions about fighting poverty

What does it mean to be poor today? Does the answer depend on cultures, countries and continents? Alicia Marguerie...

Business story: Air Liquide, Innovation Full Speed Ahead

Although not well known by the general public, Air Liquide has a long history of innovation. Today, it’s one of the century-old companies that are the pride and joy of France’s CAC 40. Its new pet project? Hydrogen cars. It all began in 1902, when two engineers invented a cryogenic process (at very low temperatures, around minus 150 ° C) to separate gasses in the air (oxygen, azote, argon). “The process called for liquefying air, hence the name Air Liquide,” explains Jean-Marc de Royère (H.86), a member of the executive committee since 2000. It was certainly an innovative process, but its applications seemed limited. In the beginning, it was used in welding, which requires argon. In 1907, the inventors turned to Japan, which was in the middle of a war with Russia and needed a great deal of welding to maintain its fleet of warships. The young company required significant investments in order to build factories and market gas molecules, and it was listed on the Paris Bourse beginning in 1913. While Air Liquide was mainly active in the industrial sector, the company continued to seek out new markets. Hydrogen sends the Ariane rocket into space … and removes sulphur from gasoline! From the bottom of the sea to outer space In 1943, the innovative company perfected, in partnership with Commander Cousteau, the first prototype of an autonomous diving suit, thanks to the invention of the regulator (a mechanism that can be used to control the pressure level of gas, […]

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Sustainable Transport: The Top Five Made-in-HEC

Transport that doesn’t pollute as much? When you don’t love oil, you create something else… Philippe Berterottière (H.82) and Bertrand Simion (H.87) Within two years, the luxury cruise line Ponant will be operating a cruise ship that runs on electricity and liquid natural gas (LNG). “Its two fuel tanks contain gas liquified at minus 160 ° Celsius, which it will use to power its engines,” explains Philippe Berterottière (H.82), CEO of GTT, the Engie subsidiary that developed this innovative vessel. And, 20 LNG-powered cargo ships will soon be added to the CMA CGM fleet. The French group is also partnering with IKEA and GoodShipping to test a biofuel that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 80% to 90%. “This is a global first,” explains Bertrand Simion (H.87), head of the group’s central lines. It’s a significant initiative, since the shipping sector, which handles 90% of worldwide freight traffic, has committed itself to cutting its CO2 emissions in half by 2050. Cécile Villette (MBA.16) Two former PwC consultants — Cécile Villette (MBA.16) and Rihab Jerbi – joined forces with Bérengère Lebental, a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, to launch Altaroad, a start-up specializing in nanotechnologies and civil engineering. Their offering? Mini-sensors set into pavement to register traffic and vehicle weight in real time. Altaroad now has many clients among companies operating industrial sites (construction projects, quarries, ports, etc.), including construction-energy giants like Eiffage. Altaroad sensors also have applications for road networks: the data they collect can be used to anticipate a road’s […]

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Julien Dossier: “We need a mobility paradigm shift.”

Julien Dossier (H.95), founder of Quattrolibri, a consultancy specializing in ecological transition strategies, teaches classes at HEC on the challenges of making cities sustainable and just published Ecological Renaissance: 24 Projects for the World of Tomorrow (Renaissance écologique: 24 chantiers pour le monde de demain, Editions Acte Sud). Bio: 1995 Graduated from HEC and CEMS. 1997 Joined the Reuters group and became the sherpa (emissary) for the group’s editor-in-chief in London. 2005 Launched Quattrolibri, a consultancy. 2014 Contributed to “Re-thinking Cities in a Post-Carbon World”, Ademe. 2017 Co-wrote the study “Paris Changes Eras: Toward Carbon-Neutrality in 2050”. 2019 Published Ecological Renaissance, Editions Acte Sud.© Sandrine Expilly “Flygskam”, or being ashamed of taking a plane, is certainly the word of the year in 2019. In general, the transport industry seems to be out of step with ecological transition. Is this sector particularly lagging behind? Julien Dossier: The transport sector is one of the top contributors to carbon emissions, almost equal to the food and construction industries. This sector, which is largely dependent on hydrocarbons, needs to be transformed from top to bottom. “Flygskam” is specifically concerned with air travel, which simply has no place in the transition to carbon neutrality. There’s no magical solution: most of the planes that will be in service in 2050 already exist. Hybrid or solar-powered planes will have only a marginal impact. What we must do is to reduce demand. Taking a plane to spend a weekend on the beach in Morocco is completely aberrant from […]

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10 questions about… Equal Opportunity

1. Why be concerned about equal opportunity? François Dubet, sociologist, former director of studies at the École des hautes études...

10 questions about the B Corp label

1. What is it? Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot (H.88), chairman of the HEC Master in Sustainable Development program, replies: