It is not common to find accounting or marketing employees assembling boxes of Covid-19 self-tests on their own. In view of the “just-in-time” period since the beginning of December, the Boiron laboratories have nevertheless decided to mobilize their teams on the production site of Messimy (Rhône). With this new device, 30,000 additional tests can be ready each day for the end of the year holidays.
Yes, we are talking about the world leader in homeopathy, historically established in the Lyon region. « When the health crisis arrived in March 2020, we were already in the midst of a crisis on our side with the announcement of the delisting of our drugs, recalls Valérie Lorentz-Poinsot, CEO of Boiron. We have been strongly attacked since 2019 by our government and in particular by Mrs Buzyn. I then said to myself that we had to help public health in France as well as our company. «
Self-tests represent 5% of Boiron’s turnover
Thanks to a partnership with a Breton test start-up, NG Biotech, the Boiron laboratories estimate that they have become over the past eight months « the leading seller of self-tests in pharmacies in France, with 33% of the market ». What to hope to recover from a « very painful social plan at the human and financial level », as Valérie Lorentz-Poinsot describes it. Over 500 people [passage de 2.300 à 1.800 salariés] had to leave this international group, which has closed 13 establishments for two years, including the industrial site of Montrichard (Loir-et-Cher) on Monday.
Covid-19 self-tests may only represent 5% of Boiron’s turnover, just like new products such as plant extracts, food supplements and cosmetics, they symbolize a certain burst of optimism on the sidelines of this end issue. reimbursement by Social Security for homeopathic treatments.
« We feel that the French remain very attached to homeopathy »
From March 2020, Boiron laboratories, which saw their turnover fall from 604 million to 514 million euros between 2018 and 2020, began to manufacture hydroalcoholic gel in Messimy in order to equip the French establishment with it. blood (EFS). Since April 2021, they have focused more on the sale to pharmacists of nasopharyngeal antigen tests and therefore on self-tests for the general public, with more than 200,000 boxes sold every day to French pharmacies. « The self-tests have gained in efficiency, with a reliability of around 98% today, and they have become more democratic with this fifth wave », indicates Valérie Lorentz-Poinsot.
Homeopathy remains of course « the target heart » of Boiron, with new products for a cough syrup, a baby product and a medicine intended for people concerned about the side effects of vaccination. But the Lyon group has opened up its perspectives, also focusing on therapeutic cannabis. « Faced with the context that we lived, we had to transform a bit by finding new areas of diversification, » says the CEO of Boiron. But at the same time, we feel that the French remain very attached to homeopathy. Just like the idea of limiting the risks of a family cluster during their Christmas meals.