Covid-19: 58% of pharmacies short of self-tests

Stormed in recent days, pharmacies are out of self-testing. To be restocked, they have to wait an average of eight days.

The French rushed for Covid-19 self-tests before Christmas. And this is reflected in the stocks of pharmacies. Asked in the JDD this Sunday, the spokesperson for the Union of Unions of Community Pharmacists (USPO), Gilles Bonnefond, indicates that « 58% of pharmacies are out of stock ».

« Since December 15, pharmacies have sold as many self-tests as the last five months, » he adds. And the latter are struggling to restock from wholesalers who are also out of stock, or directly from the 17 manufacturers authorized to sell on the French market who are no longer able to keep up.

« Suppliers were not used to providing so much. Obviously, that creates a certain disorder, a shortage (…) », observes on Webrema Jean-Marie Guillermin, vice-president of the Council of the Order of Occitanie. On average, a pharmacy now has to wait eight days for supplies.

Voluntary mass distribution

To meet the demand for self-tests, large retailers applied. In recent days, the Lidl or Intermarché groups have indicated that they are ready to offer it on their shelves if they are allowed to sell it. Leclerc has also been campaigning for months to have the right to market them:

« It is not a question of money, since it would be sold at cost price », assured Michel-Edouard Leclerc at the beginning of December, affirming that his group had « a few hundred thousand » of self-tests in stock thanks to to its partnership with the German group Rewe.

For his part, the president of the Intermarché group, Vincent Bronsard, said he could have « three million self-tests » in one week thanks to agreements made with his suppliers.

No problem for antigen testing

Faced with the spread of the Omicron variant and observing an explosion in demand, the NG Biotech company, based in Guipry-Messac (Ille-et-Vilaine), announced on Friday an increase in its production of self-tests which will allow it to deliver two million kits to pharmacies between December 10 and 31.

Not enough to meet national demand, however. According to JDD, manufacturers, in agreement with the Ministry of Health, should henceforth prioritize the production of antigenic tests, more reliable, to the detriment of self-tests.

« The pharmacies will no longer have self-tests next week. On the other hand, there is no problem of stock on antigenic tests », wants to reassure in the Sunday newspaper François Blanchecotte, president of the National Union of medical biologists.

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