Self-tests Covid: the monopoly of pharmacies not called into question “in the long term”

The sale in supermarkets of Covid-19 self-tests, authorized until January 31, does not call into question the monopoly of pharmacies, assured the Minister of Health

The sale in supermarkets of self-tests to screen for Covid-19, authorized until January 31, does not call into question “in the long term” the monopoly of pharmacies, assured this Wednesday, December 29 the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.

Ointment on a “sprain”. After catching pharmacists by surprise on Tuesday, by allowing “exceptionally” the sale of self-tests in supermarkets, Mr. Véran tried to reassure a profession as surprised as it was against this decision.

“It is a derogation, but in no case should it contravene in the long term the question of the pharmaceutical monopoly for medical devices”, he declared before the Laws Committee of the National Assembly.

“It is a departure from a rule which is dear to me”, he insisted, explaining that he proceeded by decree so that the measure “is immediately applicable, because what matters is the period. of 31 (December) and the days which follow ”, and affirming that this authorization“ will expire at the latest at the end of January ”.

A transgression justified by the explosion in demand: pharmacies “have distributed more self-tests in a few days than over the last six months”, around 6 million during Christmas week, the minister said. By adding the 7.3 million PCR and antigenic tests carried out over the same period, “we have risen to more than 13 million tests”, he underlined.

Out of stock

In this context, “a certain number of pharmacies told us that they were out” of self-test stocks, while “on the other side of the mass distribution players (in) had bought and told us + can make them available + ”, added Mr. Véran.

But the damage is done: in a joint press release, the Order and the pharmacists’ unions castigate a choice “incomprehensible and risky for public health” and demand “immediate clarification” on “the new screening policy of our country”.

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