“The public service of wholesale drugs to pharmacies is a market vitiated by a blind subsidy of 900 million euros”

Tribune. On November 3, the American drug distribution company McKesson, the subject of 8,000 complaints from local authorities in the United States, agreed to pay $ 8 billion to repair the damage caused by opiates. What is less known is that Social Security French will help pay part of this fine … via the annual subsidies it grants to OCP, the McKesson subsidiary in France.

While the future modalities of the distribution of a possible vaccine are currently being debated, this news is revealing of the functioning in France of the distribution of drugs reimbursed to pharmacies – we see in front of pharmacies these vans which sometimes deliver several times a day. green boxes.

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Apparently, the state decides everything: the purchase price of drugs from laboratories, distribution margins, discounts and retail price. The law entrusts wholesalers-distributors with the wholesale supply to pharmacies. It charges them with obligations to deliver within twenty-four hours and to have stocks in advance.

The power of pharmaceutical companies

In practice, the public service of wholesale drugs to pharmacies is a market vitiated by a blind subsidy of 900 million euros. Pharmaceutical companies have taken power. They refuse to sell to wholesaler-distributors or impose a remuneration below the legal margin. Pharmacists, drunk on drug promotion, are dependent on laboratories. Overseas, despite the risk associated with remoteness, laboratories sell without stock on site.

These are foreign companies, whose priority is to increase the stock market value, which have been designated by the Medicines Agency (ANSM) to ensure the public service of the wholesale supply of medicines. Three foreign financial conglomerates (McKesson, Walgreens Boots Alliance and, overseas, Toyota), which hold 60% of the wholesale market, decide on the drugs available in France. Their growing activities mainly concern the delivery of drugs on behalf of laboratories outside the public service. The boss of the leading wholesaler-distributor earns 1,400 times the average salary of a delivery driver!

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The Ministry of Health itself promotes unfair competition with wholesalers-distributors: since 2008 it has allowed pharmacies to keep discounts offered by all kinds of sellers, in particular laboratories. Any delivery costs the same price to Social Security. However, 500 pharmacies achieve more than 10 million euros in turnover, while 25% of pharmacies make less than 1 million: shouldn’t more subsidy be given to small town-center pharmacies to avoid their closure and minus delivery from very large pharmacies?

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