Superstores 'could sell medicines'

Report recommends breaking pharmacists’ monopoly by allowing supermarkets to sell certain drugs, including painkillers

27 July 2014

PHARMACISTS’ monopoly on the sale of certain medicines in France could come to an end, if recommendations in a report from the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) are acted upon.

Les Echos has reported that the IGF report has recommended that the sale of non-prescription non-reimbursable drugs, such as painkillers, alongside medicines such as Tylenol or Spasfon, should be opened up to competition.

The report noted that the price of non-prescription drugs has risen twice as fast as the cost of living for the past 15 years to compensate for limits on the cost of prescription drugs.

Les Echos reports that allowing supermarkets to stock certain drugs would keep prices lower for consumers.

The prospect of the move to open up the medicines market to greater competition is part of the finance ministry’s forensic examination of regulated professions in France.

As reported, the finance ministry has 37 “privileged” professions in its sights.

Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg said: “Many professions are in a monopoly position and set their prices at a level that hits the purchasing power of households.”

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