This was a strong demand from supermarkets at the heart of a fifth wave of Covid-19 in France. The government has authorized “Exceptionally and until January 31, 2022” the sale of antigenic detection self-tests for SARS-CoV-2 outside pharmacies, according to a decree published in Official newspaper, Tuesday December 28.
Considering the societal interest of the use of self-tests “In the context of a very sharp increase in the incidence rate, due to the spread of the Delta and Omicron variants, and a demand for examinations and screening tests unprecedented since the start of the health crisis, it the supply and sales channels for the self-tests should be diversified ”, exposes the judgment. The information was not, however, part of the government announcements concerning the fight against Covid-19 on Monday.
The president of large-scale retailers E.Leclerc, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, immediately greeted a “Fair and useful decision”, promising teams “Up to the stakes” and especially self-tests “At cost price”. “It’s good to broaden the front and increase availability. We can clearly see with the Omicron variant that the self-test is today an essential tool for family reunions ”, he also declared.
#Autotest Covid sale in supermarkets: @JeanCASTEX made a fair and useful decision. Our teams will show themselves… https://t.co/0wZBG3LY63
Self-tests “less than 2 euros”
The retail opening of the self-tests was particularly eagerly awaited in recent days, as pharmacies swamped with hundreds of daily antigen tests to be performed on the eve of the holiday season.
“This is a service expected by our customers, just like masks and gels”, tweeted the CEO of System U, Dominique Schelcher. “We are asking to be able to sell self-tests first because customers have asked us for it”, he had underlined a few hours earlier, on RTL. “Recently, it was sometimes difficult to access this product only in pharmacies, he added. We could also offer it at cost price, less than 2 euros. ” So far, a ceiling price of 5.20 euros has been applied in French pharmacies.
A way for Mr. Schelcher to respond to the emerging criticism of enrichment of mass distribution on the back of the pandemic. “We were told the same thing when we started selling masks and hydroalcoholic gels; today it seems normal to everyone. It is a service objective that we wish to render, and that we are asked for. “
Available within ten days
At Lidl, who says he is “In the starting blocks from the authorizations to order”, it is assured that the self-tests will be available for sale within ten days. E.Leclerc announces the same deadline to be able to offer it in all of its stores. ” From here [au] New Year’s Eve, I think there will be some in a hundred E.Leclerc centers “, said Mr. Leclerc.
The bosses of the large distribution had already requested, in April, the authorization to sell self-tests, with a lot of forums and interventions in the media. Pharmacists were campaigning to keep the monopoly on the sale of these medical devices, justifying themselves by their advisory role and the desire to protect the health market from the appetites of mass distribution.
“Self-tests are not just a commodity to put in supermarkets [grandes et moyennes surfaces]. I repeat, supervision by a health professional is fundamental. We are not going to stop there ”, reacted on Twitter the president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF), Philippe Besset. The latter maintains that this measure is “A renunciation of the tracing strategy” of the epidemic and has let it be known that he will go to a meeting with the Ministry of Health at noon on the subject.