Fear of a shortage of paracetamol: the government and the laboratories try to reassure

The ANSM on Wednesday called on doctors and pharmacists to limit the dispensation of this painkiller, due to supply tensions.

After the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) recommended on Wednesday to limit the delivery of paracetamol in pharmacies in the face of supply tensions, the government and laboratories wanted to reassure. “There are tensions but there is no lack of paracetamol molecules“, declared on Saturday on Franceinfo the Minister Delegate in charge of Territorial Organization and Health Professions, Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, stressing that “paracetamol is the molecule, especially since the health crisis, which has undoubtedly been the most consumed in the world“.

On Wednesday, the ANSM, the College of General Medicine and the pharmacists’ unions (FSPF and USPO) formulated “recommendations to moderate the use of paracetamol», and thus allow patients who have an immediate need to benefit from it. They thus recommend that pharmacists limit, in the absence of a prescription, dispensing to two boxes per patient. Another recommendation, this time for doctors: do not prescribe paracetamol to patients who do not have an immediate need. As for the patients, they are called upon not to constitute a stock when they do not have an immediate need for it.

85% of supplies from the United States

Same reassuring tone on the side of the laboratories that produce this painkiller. “Regarding Upsa, which monitors the stock status of its references (Dafalgan, Efferalgan) on a daily basis, no shortage has been observed.“, thus indicated this laboratory to AFP in an email. “The weekly monitoring set up by Upsa reports more than a month of stocks available in pharmacies on average for the paracetamol brands Dafalgan and Efferalgan“, he added. 85% of active ingredient supplies come from the United States. The manufacture of the finished product is then entirely ensured on the industrial sites of the laboratory in France, in Agen, explains the manufacturer.

For its part, the giant Sanofi also indicates that it does not experience any supply difficulties. The group produces around 1 million boxes of Doliprane a day, enough to cover the population’s needs until the end of the year, he says. To meet exceptional demand, the Lisieux site (Calvados) “running at full capacity“, adds the laboratory which specifies that 96% of this production is intended for the French market.

At the height of the pandemic, the sale of paracetamol was limited to one box per person. To the point of generating a mini-panic and leading to the decision to repatriate the production of its active ingredient to French territory. This must be produced again in Isère from 2023.

SEE ALSO – FOCUS – How can paracetamol be deadly?

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