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Manufacturing problem, increased demand with Covid-19, unfair practices by certain suppliers… For several months French pharmacies are facing serious supply problems with medicines. Antibiotics, cancer drugs, anti-inflammatories, analgesics… Almost no company escapes this phenomenon.
But it’s mostly them Paracetamol absentwarns the ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines) in a press release published in mid-July 2022.
Especially paracetamol for children
“So far there have been delays in the supply of oral forms and suppositories of paracetamol. These are followed by production difficulties that require an increase in consumption as part of the 7the Wave of Covid-19. “However, the supply of the hospitals is “secured”, promises the ANSM.
As has been pointed out, the situation has hardly improved at the end of July d’actu.fr Pierre-Olivier Variot, President of the Union of Community Pharmacists (USPO): “We are essentially missing Doliprane, especially that for children, whether in syrup or suppositories. But also for adults in tablet form. »
We are facing a supply voltage. If it’s not a brand, it’s a shape that’s missing.
Maximum two boxes per customer
The pharmacist representative wants to make it clear that “there is no shortage of paracetamol”. He ensures that every pharmacy “has an alternative, either from a different lab brand or in a different format”.
This situation has prompted the ANSM to issue several recommendations for pharmacists:
- Restrict paracetamol orders
- Prefer recipe issue
- Regulate dispensing as much as possible based on patient needs: limit dispensing to two boxes per patient without a prescription
- Restrict paracetamol sales online
And for customers:
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about paracetamol (treatment for pain or high fever) only in an emergency
- Follow the rules for the proper use of paracetamol
Wholesalers-dealers, middlemen singled out
In addition, the agency has taken several measures to preserve available stocks:
We have ensured the implementation of a quantitative quota [limiter l’approvisionnement d’un produit, NDLR] from the laboratories at the level of sales to wholesalers and direct sales to pharmacies. The aim of this measure is to distribute supplies fairly throughout the territory and to preserve the available stocks over the long term.
Wholesalers, also known as short-liners (intermediaries who buy, sell, store and distribute medicines), are regularly attacked by the trade association for unfair business practices that lead to supply bottlenecks.
“Although they are obliged to deliver a stock to pharmacies, sometimes they choose to sell their medicines in other European countries at a much higher price, offering us imported and counterfeit products,” laments Pierre-Olivier Variot.
Pharmacists demand better traceability
The ANSM also issued five injunctions and financial sanctions against these wholesalers and distributors in 2018, totaling €480,500.
Is it alright? Not in the eyes of the pharmacists: “There should be better traceability of the boxes to ensure that they are all sold in France and not elsewhere,” supports the USPO President.
However, the ANSM remains upbeat on the stockpile trend and estimates a return to normal after the summer period when production resumes. “If necessary, we will adapt the existing measures. »
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