Self-medication

Green light to the free service in pharmacies
It is, self-service drug landed in pharmacies. Goal: engage the French in the management of their health and lower prices for promoted patients “responsible consumers”. But what about this development? The point with Doctissimo.

It is now done: pharmacists have the right to pass certain non-refundable drugs in front of their desk. Open access in dedicated spaces, it will therefore soon find 217 drugs meet the daily headaches (fever, headaches, colds, cough, but also smoking cessation), 12 drugs of phytotherapy and 15 homeopathic drugs. A list that could soon go.

service in pharmacies

“Open-access” more than “self-service”
First observation: this is a priori no direct link with the fight against the hole of the social security system. All of these drugs were already sold without prescription and therefore not reimbursed. What will change, it is that the patient will freely have access to mailboxes without having to ask their pharmacist.

The Fund, the pharmacist will have a duty to advise and recording issued drug. He may then, if applicable, give a more adequate treatment or re-direct to a physician. The number of purchased boxes is of course limited.

All these conditions are that it is more accurate to speak of a “direct access” rather than a “free service”. And fortunately because drugs are not like other products. Their use is supervised by the pharmacist to avoid misuse.
Finally, remember that this is left to the choice of each pharmacist. It is not sure that you find tomorrow these products in your favorite dispensary. But why such a change?

Lower prices and accountability of patients
One of the main reasons cited by the Government is that free access to these products will encourage competition. “When a product is sold at the counter, you can more easily compare the price” indicates the Minister of health, Roselyne Bachelot. Prices are now accessible to the consumer and not hidden behind the counter and only announced at the time of deal. Comparing labels, the “patient-client” should boost trade policy of pharmacies.

Self-service would also serve to empower patients to therapeutic support. “Patients are better informed, better decide to support their benign diseases without always resorting to a doctor,” said the Minister.

Last reason: free time to doctors. The pharmacist here playing the role of Council to the patient, it may substitute for the practitioner for all small ills under the “bobologie”. A transfer of the doctor to the pharmacist who could constitute an element of response to the problem of medical demography, physicians being insufficient in several areas. The problem is that when they are prescribed these drugs are reimbursed, which is not the case for self-medication drugs… And this is not the only flat.

The limits of the self-service
Despite the supposed benefits largely underlined by health authorities, voices against this small revolution. First, the long-awaited lower prices actually be at the Rendez-vous? Today, nothing guarantees: some pharmacists argue the idea that this competition already exists, and that there is not currently of significant price variations. Other: after “UFC that choose”, theAnadvil which will pass in front of the counter is currently sold €2.48 on average, against €1.88 forAdvil, its equivalent remained behind… Will industrialists actually play the game? Earlier this year, they signed a Charter committing “to pursue a tariff policy better adapted to the new realities of the market responding to the needs of the patient”. Case to follow so…

Moreover, there is often among the staff of pharmacies only pharmacist “graduated” to several vendors who are not health professionals. Even if this situation appears not with implementing open access of drugs, not became not more disturbing? How to ensure that the advice of a vendor will be the most suitable? Posters and plaques of information placed in the vicinity of space of sale be sufficient?

Is this experiment not a not additional to the distribution of drugs in large surface? Shortly after the attack on the monopoly of pharmacists on drugs by a sign of wide distribution, this measure to frighten some despite all assurances of the Minister of health and former pharmacist Roselyne Bachelot.

To answer these questions and to compare forecasts with actual developments in this free access, a price observatory was established. This is also now only “experimentation” will also be an evaluation by the Ministry of health.