Pharmacies in France

When we think about the basic services needed by every common people we might make a top list including markets, bakeries, some entertainment place and obviously pharmacies. Pharmacies are on the top of the list because we all need their articles at least once an year, if in the case that we are plenty of health. Kids and elderly people must maybe assist frequently to get their prescriptions and more. As in the most of the things, culture development is the great molder of how the things are done. Medicine has is own history according to different territories.

We might imagine South Americans medicine history related to nature and plants healing has something to do maybe with Oceanic aborigines medicine culture. Every antique civilization had it own mapping about this issue, generally related religion and beliefs. Europe is a nowadays a big mix of different historical components and medicine obviously is a result of it. European history for example, has went through terminal diseases which lasted years such as Black Death. We don’t imagine that happening today, as we suppose cures and healings for many different diseases are very near to us. The place in which we access to medicaments, pills, and any kind of immediately solution to one of our healths troubles is the pharmacy. There’s a lot of history behind this little fact. Nowadays, only in French territory there are around 23 thousand pharmacies.

In the European Union, there are different ways of managing pharmacies and its regulation by governments. This is because there is not a totalitarian law regarding to this issue ruling for all the countries on it. One model is the one adopted by UK and the Netherlands, known as the Anglo-Saxon model, where there is not a scheduling supply, which produces a low density of pharmacies and a wrong distribution in relation to its population. This is a liberal model in which there is no government intervention in the opening of new pharmacies. Opening a new pharmacy in UK or Netherlands is highly expensive. Other model is the one called Mediterranean Model, adopted by Italy and Spain, where governments planificate the opening of new pharmacies attending to population criteria, while property of pharmacies is exclusive of pharmaceutics.

France has mixed both models and together with Austria and Belgium has a model in which there is a balance between new openings and pharmacies owners. This model has strict regulations, at least in France and not in the other countries. This means pharmacies can only be owned by pharmaceutics – and also have to be attended by its owner- and, as a pharmaceutical, you can only own one pharmacy. There is also a co-property system that allows pharmaceuticals having more than just a pharmacy. Have you ever reflexed about how many pharmacies are opened year by year and who regulates these new openings? How do you believe medicaments are distributed on pharmacies? There is a long and constant work behind our daily access to it. It is a big responsibility from governments of every country in what pharmaceutical distribution and functioning regards to.

Recently, on July 2018, France government issued a report called Rules applicable to information and advertising of health professional declaring in favor of the free communication to the public about the medicine concerns. This means that French healthcare professionals, hospitals and pharmacies can now communicate freely about their prices, new products, and differentes services to population. This new regulation is brought over from an old law in France that impart a prohibition over any announcement linked to health care systems. In other words, until July 2018, you couldn’t freely sponsor your professional services as a doctor or even communicate your prices in brochures, posters or radio broadcasts. This prohibition makes a big differences in relation to United States law regarding pharmacies and its market regulation. As an example of this we can name the American pharmacy enterprise CVS which has recently reached an agreement with US Postal for delivering medicines in the United States, as a way to compete Amazon for the internet market. The same process would not be allowed in France since last July, as there was a prohibition over price and distribution sponsoring.

The fact of pharmacies turning into multinationals – as the recently Spanish laboratory Laboratorio Fertolt bought by French enterprise Ajnac – is something high governments sector of planification among the world will be seriously discussing in the next years. Or as in the previous comments exampling CVS American enterprise. Pharmacy industry means the 33% of global market earnings and it isn’t just medicine. Cosmetics and a whole new product line regarding anabolics and dietary supplements are also included on it. There are many new emerging ways of fooding and a whole new conscious about health and daily vinculation with our body. Also vegetarians and especially vegans has to replace on their diets certain vitamins and proteins which animal meat only provides, and this means a new and growing demand over dietary supplements that pharmaceutical industry must be prepared to offer and accomplish.

Regarding new – or not so new – ways of medicines and healthcare, homeopathics has made its way on the market for the last twenty years. Although this abordage of medical issues exists a hundred years ago and was very popularized specially in Germany and Eastern Europe countries by Anthroposophy creator Rudolf Steiner as a wide different way of understanding diseases, it was since 90´s to our days that most of the demand of this product and the growth in specialists happened. There is now a big discussion towards homeopathics in France. By one hand, homeopathics is recognized in France and Germany more than any other country in the world. Lots of people believe in the functionality of this type of medicine and decide to consume it over ordinary pharmaceutical products. In the other hand, recently the French Medicine Academy and the French Pharmacy Academy had declared that homeopathics has no scientific demonstration of it benefits. This does not stay there, as both academies demand that Medicare – the very efficient insurance program in France- must not cover expenses destined to homeopathics.

France has a very complex and sophisticated healthcare system which provides its population of a complete medical attention if they are recognized as French residents. We will not explain the particularities of this system, which are very interesting and generates benefits to both population demanding medical services and professional practicing medicine within French Healthcare System. But we will talk about the way government through this healthcare program refunds people that had spend money on treatments or medicines. According to the severity of the disease and your economic situation measured from your salary and your family earnings, you as a French resident will have a percentage of your money refunded. As I told you before, a big part of French Medicine Academy and French Pharmacy Academy claims that homeopathics must be taken away from the list of medicines of which you receive a refund if acquiring it. This, I imagine, will be a present discussion among French population along this year. It’s important to remark that France has a relation with natural products which is bigger than commonly in other big countries. This means that there are several regulations and government genuine interests on what kind of product you can achieve in a pharmacy and how these products are composed.

Beyond the fact that we as citizen or simple human beings that like very much express about absolutely anything, and we can agree or disagree with homeopathic as a replacement of -let’s say- traditional or classical medicine, I think we may all agree about the importance of government’s regulation over pharmaceutical products flux and also the importance of having active institutes such as French Pharmacy or Doctors Academy working daily to improve the healthcare system and the knowledge about benefits or consequences of different kind of medicines. It was France that announced the possible side effects of one of the most known non prospect selling pill in the whole world, Ibuprofen. This once again tell us the complex system of regulation, earning and production that pharmacy industry may have. How many times you solved a minor illness with a recognized free seling pill? And what would you think if tomorrow a recognized national academy declares that the same pill you were yesterday taking before rest can produce unwished side effects you ignore? It’s important to have non profit institutions having serious studies of new products because is a way of protecting people from enterprises economical interests.

So now you can see that when talking about pharmacies we are talking about a big and intricate system and not only about taking away our prescriptions from a place. Public and private sector are permanently developing new ways of providing a more efficient service to people needing it. French government is one of the most developed regarding health care systems and has improved it since it was proposed by socialist Primer Minister Lionel Jaspin. Regulations over pharmacies are as serious as these are over food industry. According to WHO – World Health Organization -, France is in the top five of countries that provides a healthy and safety food system to its population.
As a part of French government regulations, pharmacies are not allowed to be franquicies, existing several restrictions regarding this. You as a pharmaceutical can only own one pharmacy, or by copropteary of three of them. In the last five years, two thousand new pharmacies were opened according to French Pharmacy Academy. Since 2017, pharmacies began to earn a monetary commission for the dispensing of the medicines. This is obviously only applied to medicines and not other products you may acquire on a French pharmacy, as cosmetics or natural aesthetics products. French pharmacie system is constantly improving with the objective of providing a better service to its population. This is not something that happens very often in our world nowadays. Commonly the offer of basic services is majorly controlled by private and financial sector, and when this are not regulated from the governments, public systems as healthcare systems begins to offer a more expensive but less effective service. In the case of France, government is committed to provide an efficient service and for the achievement of new laws are declared frequently. Recently, French Medical System sanction that from 2020, French pharmacies will start to vaccinate risk population, making it a non exclusive service provided by hospitals. This is an example of population protection and healthcare system efficiency.

You may imagine France as a big land with beautiful women and people drinking wine and coffee with no big troubles or concerns about there way of life, the accessibility to public services or the daily needs of common people. You may imagine pharmacies just as a place in where you buy medicines and occasionally refinde shampoo or soap with grapes or coco smell. -That would be kind of francaise irony -. Maybe at the moment of linking pharmacies and France you imagine colorful and happy places in where magical things happens, and you are received by a very wise old woman who already knows your desires. But the truth is French population is really committed to social issues and people are really organized through working unions and this generates activities and permanent movement in every sphere of their society. Recently, protesters baptized yellow-jackets impounded Paris streets claiming their government not to increase petrol prices. Finally, president Macron had to give and prices increasement were cancelled.

In summary, pharmacies in France are highly technological equipped to provide an efficient service to its population. There is a constant study of its conditions through both French Pharmacy Academy and French Doctor Academy, allowing improvements year by year that benefit both population and pharmaceuticals. This is makes a big difference with other governments even the ones belonging to European Union, that may be not so concerned about providing a fair and accessible healthcare system.

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