By Timothée L’Angevin
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Manufacturing problem, increased demand with Covid-19, unfair practices by certain suppliers… For several months, French pharmacies are facing serious drug supply difficulties. Antibiotics, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, analgesic… Almost no company escapes this phenomenon.
But it is above all the paracetamol missingwarns the ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines), in a press release published in mid-July 2022.
Especially paracetamol for children
“To date, there are delays in the supply of oral forms and suppositories of paracetamol. These follow production difficulties to which must be added an increase in consumption in the context of the 7e wave of Covid-19. “However, the supply of hospitals “is assured”, promises the ANSM.
At the end of July, the situation has hardly improved, as pointed out to d’actu.fr Pierre-Olivier Variot, President of the Union of Community Pharmacists (USPO): “We essentially lack Doliprane, especially that for children, whether in syrup or suppositories. But also the one for adults in tablets. »
We are facing a supply tension. When it’s not a brand, it’s a form that’s missing.
Maximum two boxes per customer
The pharmacists’ representative wishes to clarify that “there is no shortage of paracetamol”. He ensures that each pharmacy has each time “an alternative, either from another laboratory’s brand, or in another format”.
This situation has led the ANSM to issue several recommendations for pharmacists:
- Limit paracetamol orders
- Prefer prescription dispensing
- Regulate dispensing as far as possible according to the patient’s needs: limit dispensing to two boxes per patient without a prescription
- Limit the online sale of paracetamol
And for customers:
- Ask for paracetamol from the doctor or pharmacist only in case of immediate need (treatment of pain or high fever)
- Respect the rules for the proper use of paracetamol
Wholesaler-distributors, intermediaries singled out
In addition, the agency has implemented several measures to preserve available stocks:
We have ensured the implementation of a quantitative quota [limiter l’approvisionnement d’un produit, NDLR] by the laboratories at the level of sales to wholesalers-distributors and direct sales to pharmacies. The aim of this measure is to fairly distribute supplies throughout the territory and to preserve available stocks over time.
Wholesaler-distributors, also called short-liners (intermediaries who buy, sell, store and distribute drugs), are regularly singled out by the profession for unfair commercial practices, which lead to supply tensions.
“Although they are obliged to have a stock to deliver to pharmacies, they sometimes decide to sell their medicines at a much higher price in other European countries, and to offer us imported and falsified products”, deplores Pierre-Olivier Variot.
Pharmacists call for better traceability
The ANSM had also issued, in 2018, five injunctions and financial sanctions against these wholesaler-distributors, for a total amount of 480,500 euros.
Is it sufficient ? Not in the eyes of pharmacists: “There should be better traceability of the boxes to ensure that they are all sold in France and not elsewhere”, supports the president of the USPO.
However, the ANSM remains confident in the evolution of stocks and estimates a return to normal after the summer period, when production will be restarted. “If necessary, we will adapt the measures in place. »
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