Pharmacists and pharmacy students are angry. The unions are therefore calling for demonstrations this Tuesday, in Paris and in around ten cities, to demand the rapid opening of conventional negotiations in order to “compensate for inflation” and for the implementation of an expected reform of studies.
Organized by the National Association of Pharmacy Students of France (Anepf) and supported by several representative organizations, including the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF) and the Union of Community Pharmacists Unions (USPO), marches are planned in particular in Bordeaux, Grenoble, Nancy or Nantes. In Paris, demonstrators will march from the Paris-Cité pharmacy faculty to the Ministry of Health in the early afternoon.
Too long a wait according to the unions
“We have been waiting for seven years for a reform of the third cycle of studies, necessary for the attractiveness of the sector. At the same time, we have been waiting for four months for the opening of conventional negotiations, and we have decided, students and pharmacists, to support each other,” explains Philippe Besset, president of the FSPF, the leading pharmacists’ union. “The government does not question the interest of these subjects, but it procrastinates and it becomes unbearable,” he adds.
For the moment, the unions are not calling for a strike or to close pharmacies, but to join the processions and make this mobilization visible, in particular by means of posters in pharmacies and a petition. The poster represents the lowered curtain of a pharmacy to warn of their economic difficulties and the risk of medical desertification, explains Philippe Besset, assuring that “25 pharmacies” have closed every month since the start of the year and that France has lost 4,000 pharmacies from 2007 to 2023, to 20,000 pharmacies today.
The FSPF wants an additional billion euros
As part of the conventional negotiations between Health Insurance and pharmacists – who according to the profession are slow to open – the FSPF is demanding an additional billion euros for the coming budget to be able to increase salaries, in the wake of the ‘inflation. According to a joint press release from the organizations, the sector has 120,000 employees in pharmacies.
The students, for their part, want to see the third cycle reform “advance”, which should provide them with more attractive study conditions, with improved internship compensation, transport or accommodation in medical deserts. According to Anepf, in two years, nearly 1,500 places (1,027 in 2022 and 471 in 2023) have remained vacant at the entrance to pharmacy studies, at the end of the first more general year of health studies.
Without a reaction from the government, “the movement will harden,” the president of the USPO, Pierre-Olivier Variot, has already warned.