France is facing a paracetamol shortage that will last throughout the summer because of delays in supply coupled with an increase in demand due to Covid cases, the medicines agency ANSM has warned.
The delays will affect both oral and suppository forms of the painkiller, commonly sold under the brand name Doliprane in France.
ANSM has made assurances that despite the shortage, measures will be taken to ensure that patients in need will receive the medicine.
“In order to secure the situation in towns and cities and to preserve available stocks, the ANSM has put in place several measures,” the agency stated.
“We have ensured the implementation of a quota system for sales to wholesalers and to pharmacies to distribute supplies fairly throughout the country and preserve available stocks.
“The agency has also temporarily banned exports of paracetamol by wholesalers.”
Mélanie Cachet, deputy director of the ANSM's inspection department, told AFP that these measures will “allow all patients who need it to have access to the medicine”.
This includes hospital patients, who will continue to receive the medication as and when required.
Ms Cachet has recommended pharmacies limit orders of paracetamol and prioritise giving the drug to people with prescriptions.
The general public are asked to limit their use to “immediate needs”.
A shortage of paracetamol also occurred in March 2020 at the beginning of the first wave of Covid, ANSM stated. Similar measures were taken to preserve stocks.