Health and Wellness

Call for a strike in pharmacies: shortage of medicine "becomes unbearable"warns a pharmacists’ union

The shortage of medicines in pharmacies “becomes unbearable”alert Saturday April 20 on franceinfo Pierre-Olivier Variot, pharmacist in Côte-d’Or and president of the Union of Community Pharmacists’ Unions (Uspo), while pharmacists’ unions are calling for a guards’ strike on the weekend -end of Pentecost and the closing of pharmacies on May 30.

“The drug shortage represents twelve hours of drug research per week for an average pharmacy”denounces Pierre-Olivier Variot. “These are twelve hours during which we cannot take care of patients, during which we will come up against tired patients, irritated at not having their treatment, twelve hours during which we will bother doctors to find out which treatment must be replaced [le traitement manquant]”, says the president of Uspo.

He assures, professionals in the sector warn “for several months or even several years” on shortages of medicines in pharmacies “for patients who are the most fragile and who do not have access to all their treatments”. The president of Uspo affirms that these shortages “are increasingly important” and that the situation “not getting better”. Pierre-Olivier Variot recognizes in passing “the enormous work of the ANSM [Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé] which is done” but faced with the scale of the shortage – “nearly 4,400 drugs missing” – he considers that the task is “huge” for the Agency.

Another reason which pushes professionals in the sector to call a strike: financial revaluation. “We have 80% of our activity which is linked to drug prices which are set by the State and to fees which are set by the State”. A situation that no longer works in the face of inflation described as “galloping in terms of payroll”. Pierre-Olivier Variot indeed affirms that the payroll has increased by “18% between 2021 and 2022, mainly due to Covid”which pushed pharmacists to hire. “When we have a drop in margins at the same time, the scissor effect is significant“, he explains. According to him, it is this situation which forced “36 pharmacies to close in January”. For the president of Uspo, it is therefore necessary “review these fees so that they follow inflation and are revalued”.

Finally, the pharmacist also warns of the government’s desire to facilitate the sale of medicines on the internet: “If we install platforms, there will no longer be any security in the drug circuit as there is in pharmacies.”

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  • Source of information and images “francetvinfo

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