No jackpot for pharmacists

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Photo progress / Catherine Aulaz

Lots of testing time and obvious risk taking, but ultimately profitability is at a peak. If you listen to the pharmacists who were asked about an initial assessment of the antigen testing operations initiated in late October, it is clear that the pharmacies have not benefited from this increased activity. 'The discounts on the part of the suppliers are insignificant,' says a pharmacist from Ain, 'which is understandable given the strong demand for tests'. And to go on, “Theres no question about getting a significant margin on this type of product. It is above all a service that we render to the people, but we are not losers. '

How do pharmacists get their supplies?

You can choose between orders from half a dozen wholesalers (OCP, CERP, etc.) or direct from manufacturing laboratories referred to by the Ministry of Health.

What are the selection criteria?

The price does not seem to be the first criterion. On the other hand, it is the speed of delivery that is a priority, with a bonus for the wholesalers being able to deliver to most pharmacies in the region within 24 hours. Sometimes it takes up to 4 days for a direct order to be placed with the test manufacturer.

Where do antigen tests come from?

Mainly from overseas manufacturers (USA, South Korea etc), some of which are also based in the European Union or UK. The proportion of tests being carried out in France is expected to increase while the market has run out of steam in recent weeks.

How much is it ?

According to ARS, the price for the test carried out by the pharmacist is € 33.50. These costs are made up as follows:

The cost of the antigen test, which has initially been set at € 8 and € 7.50 since January 1, 2021, was set by suppliers in accordance with the purchase price of the test by pharmacies.
The price of the nasopharynx sample is based on the price of the nasopharynx sample that was defined for an RT-PCR test, i.e. H. € 9.60.
The difference, i.e. H. 16.40 €, includes reading the result for the patient with advice on the procedure to be followed, entering information into information gathering software, the cost of personal protective equipment and evacuation of waste in a suitable circuit.

It is therefore the pharmacist who is reimbursed directly by Social Security for promoting the purchase of the products used for the tests and paying them for the incidental act.

The pharmacists surveyed do not regret the decision to have carried out this activity temporarily in their pharmacy, even though they are aware of 'taking risks with cases of Covid at pharmacists every day', as one of the pharmacists underlined.

No coincidence on a commercial level

In addition, these processes were very time consuming between upstream training and the time devoted to individual protection (Charlotte and Robe for each test), disinfection, and waste disposal.

When most of them feel they are useful in this fight against the virus - 'we are breaking chains of contamination thanks to these controls,' insists one of them - few have the chance effect on the commercial plot of their patients compulsive purchase observed a slimming cream or a shampoo. While you wait for the result of your test. At best a couple of bottles of hydroalcoholic gel or boxes of masks.