no jackpot for pharmacists

Photo Progress / Catherine Aulaz

Lots of test time and obvious risk-taking, but in the end the profitability is top notch. When listening to pharmacists who were questioned at an initial assessment of antigenic test surgeries launched in late October, it is clear that pharmacies have not benefited from this increased activity. “The discounts are insignificant from the suppliers’ side,” testifies a pharmacist from Ain, “which is understandable given the strong demand for tests”. And to continue: “there is no question of taking a significant margin on this type of product. It is above all a service we provide to the population, but we are not losers ”.

How do pharmacists get their supplies?

They have the choice between taking orders from half a dozen wholesalers (OCP, CERP, etc.) or directly from manufacturing laboratories as referred to by the Ministry of Health.

What are the selection criteria?

Price does not seem to be the first criterion. On the other hand, it is the delivery speed that is prioritized with a bonus for the wholesalers who can deliver within 24 hours most pharmacies in the region. It takes up to 4 days sometimes for a direct order from the test manufacturer.

Where do antigen tests come from?

Mainly from foreign manufacturers (USA, South Korea, etc.), some of which are also located in the EU or the UK. The proportion of tests conducted in France is said to be increasing while the market appears to be running out of steam in recent weeks.

How much does it cost ?

According to ARS, the price of the test performed by the pharmacist is set at € 33.50. This cost is distributed as follows:

The cost of the antigen test, originally set at € 8 and € 7.50 since 1 January 2021, was set according to the purchase price of the test from pharmacies from suppliers.
The price of the nasopharyngeal sample is adjusted with the price of the nasopharyngeal sample defined for an RT-PCR test, ie € 9.60.
The difference, ie € 16.40, covers reading the result to the patient with advice on the procedure to be followed, entering information into an information collection software, expenses related to personal protective equipment and evacuation. Of waste in a suitable circuit.

It is therefore the pharmacist who receives a direct refund from the social security because it is he who advances the purchase of products used for the tests, and she pays for the action in passing.

The interviewed pharmacists do not regret the choice of having hosted this activity temporarily at their pharmacy, although they are well aware of “taking risks every day with cases of covid in pharmacists” as emphasized by one of the pharmacists. ‘Them.

No storm effect on a commercial level

In addition, these operations were very time consuming between the upstream training and the time spent on individual protection (charlotte and dress for each test), disinfection and waste management.

Finally, if most of them feel that they are useful in this fight against the virus – “we break pollution chains thanks to these controls” insists one of them – few have observed the great effect on the commercial plan with the forced purchase from patients. of a slimming cream or a shampoo. While waiting for the result of the test. At best, some bottles of hydroalcohol or masks.