Doliprane stocks have been running low in French pharmacies in recent weeks, with some selling out completely, as a result of Covid and seasonal illnesses.
Doliprane is a pain reliever containing paracetamol which can be used to ease the symptoms of colds, flu, headaches, period pains etc.
“There is a shortage of two products: the 1,000mg capsules and the children’s Liquiz sachets are out of stock the most. Luckily, the syrup with the pipette has come back into stock but there is still a shortage,” said Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the Union des syndicats de pharmaciens d’officine.
Sanofi, the company which makes Doliprane, said that there has been no disruption to supply of the paracetamol powder coming from China and India, but that the shortages were due to ‘unprecedented’ demand in pharmacies.
This is thought to be due to a combination of high Covid case rates and the seasonal flu epidemic.
This is because the French health authority, le Haut Conseil de Santé publique recommends that people with a fever – a symptom of both flu and Covid – should take paracetamol and not anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen.
Since Covid first emerged in spring 2020, the 250 employees of the Sanofi factory in Calvados have increased production by 50%, producing more than 15 million Doliprane units each day.
In the coming days, Sanofi will write to pharmacies telling them that they must limit their Doliprane orders to 720 units per shop, at least until June, when stocks are expected to return to normal.
The Doliprane shortage is surprising to Eric Myon, president of the Union Nationale des Pharmaciens de France, who told La Dépêche: “I struggle to understand how a laboratory which such a huge research and production capacity is not capable of establishing an industrial process within a few weeks.”
Doliprane is the only brand which offers paracetamol in syrup form for children. However, adults can use Efferalgan, Dafalgan, Viatris or Biogaran.