Tensions over paracetamol: faced with supply difficulties, the authorities are taking drastic measures

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The Medicines Agency (ANSM) announces difficulties in the supply of paracetamol. In question: the health crisis and the epidemic rebound, which has accelerated the consumption of these drugs.

Due to difficulties in the supply of paracetamol which could last all summer, the Medicines Agency (ANSM) has taken measures to avoid stock shortages by restricting the quantities delivered to pharmacies, she indicated this Tuesday July 12. “To date, there are delays in the supply of oral forms and suppositories of paracetamol,” the agency explains.

Production difficulties to which is added an increase in consumption in the context of the 7th wave of Covid. According to the drug agency, “according to the data available at this stage, the situation should return to normal at the end of the summer period”.

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“In the meantime, in order to secure the situation in the city and preserve available stocks, the ANSM has implemented several measures: we have ensured the implementation of a quantitative quota by the laboratories at the level of sales to wholesalers and direct sales to pharmacies”, explains the agency. A measure which aims to “equitably distribute supplies throughout the territory and preserve available stocks over time”.

“No risk of breakage”

Contacted, the Sanofi group ensures that there is “no risk of paracetamol shortage in France” and affirms that “all (its) teams are mobilized to the maximum to best meet the needs of patients”. The drug agency also indicates that it has “temporarily prohibited the export of these drugs by wholesalers”.

These measures will allow “all patients to have access to the drug”, assured Mélanie Cachet, deputy director of the ANSM inspection department. The agency specifies that the supply of paracetamol (in all its forms) to hospitals is assured. To community pharmacists, it recommends limiting paracetamol orders, favoring prescription dispensing and regulating sales, as far as possible, according to patient needs. The latter are themselves invited to ask for paracetamol from their doctor or pharmacist only in the event of “immediate need”.

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“We have always had strong demand since the winter, because of the Covid and the flu, so stocks are not being replenished”, explains Philippe Besset, president of the FSPF pharmacists’ union, who also reports “tensions, but no breaks”. Tensions over paracetamol have already existed in the past, especially during the first wave of Covid in March 2020, recalled the ANSM. Similar measures to preserve stocks were then initiated.

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