France’s Pharmacists Strike Over Pay, Drug Shortage

Pharmacies in France have shut their doors for the day, after email and poster campaigns warning of the closure, as pharmacists strike over drug shortage and pay, reported France 24.

Around 90% of pharmacies in France are closed and in some regional towns, every single pharmacy closed down.

French pharmacists strike to highlight drug shortages and demand better pay

Besides drug shortage and pay, professionals expressed other concerns, including rural closures, training reform and conditions.

“The biggest worry is vanishing pharmacies” which face economic hardship in rural areas and sometimes even in towns and cities, said Philippe Besset, president of the FSPF pharmacists’ union federation.

Over the past 10 years, around 2000 pharmacies closed, leaving around 20000 pharmacies operating, according to trade bodies.

Since inflation blows up costs, unions are demanding an increase in pay starting from next year. Unions are expected to get in talks with France’s national health insurance authority next week.

The French pharmacists are also organizing demonstrations in many towns and a protest in Paris. A march will start at pharmacy school and extend to the economy ministry.

“All the ingredients are in place to kill the network” of pharmacies across France, which employ a total of 130,000 people, said Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the USPO pharmacists’ union.

A point of concern is suspected government plans to make it easier to sell over-the-counter medications online.

Marc Feracci, an MP for President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, told AFP that easier online sales were “under consideration” but that people should “keep their heads”.

“Nothing will be opened up to big supermarkets nor will medications be added to Amazon,” Ferraci said.

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