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Covid-19: pharmacists warn of Paxlovid "trafficking" abroad


This drug from Pfizer “is increasingly trafficked and destined for clandestine export, with or without forged prescriptions,” the USPO warned this week.

It's a rush on a hitherto rather neglected drug, which has not gone unnoticed by pharmacists.

In a statement in mid-January, the Union of Community Pharmacists (USPO) sounded the alarm over "


" of Paxlovid, this drug developed by Pfizer to reduce the risk of a serious form of Covid-19 in frail patients.

This “

is the subject of growing traffic and intended for clandestine export, with falsified prescriptions or not

”, denounced the Union.

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The distributors of certain regions - mainly in Paris, Nice, Marseille and in the Grand Est - have noticed with astonishment a strong demand for Paxlovid for a few days, whereas this treatment had been rather neglected until now.


purchases of boxes

” of the medicine have been made by certain pharmacies, even though it must be prescribed by a doctor, pharmacies can only order a maximum of twenty boxes and Paxlovid is only rarely used in normal time.

What to put the chip in the ear of the professionals.

Read alsoPaxlovid, an antiviral against Covid still too little prescribed

I was alerted by social networks, by messages sent to me by certain departmental presidents

, tells

Le Figaro

Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the USPO


The Ministry of Health has confirmed to me abnormal orders for Paxlovid, concentrated in certain pharmacies


The increase in the number of boxes ordered by pharmacies would be “


”, in the order of 1,000 to 2,000 boxes more than usual.

A lack of medicines in Asia

The representative of the professionals, who indicates that he has only dispensed a handful of boxes of Paxlovid himself since the release of the drug, identifies four potential frauds.

First, doctors who make "

prescriptions of convenience to their patients

", allowing them to obtain the drug without needing it.

More worryingly, pharmacists explained that they had “

patients who come with Chinese prescriptions, written in ideograms, to obtain Paxlovid


However, in practice, pharmacists do not accept prescriptions from non-European doctors and have therefore not provided them with the boxes requested.

Other users also come with falsified prescriptions, and some, finally, outright try to bribe pharmacists to obtain precious boxes.

Most of the requests would come from “


” customers, report the professionals.

I can only suspect that it is going to China.

Some pharmacists tell us that customers want to buy Paxlovid to protect their loved ones

”, while the Covid-19 is wreaking havoc across the country, reports Pierre-Olivier Variot.

Others are simply motivated by money, and want to resell the drug abroad for a much higher price.

A lucrative business... but illegal.

Pharmacies cannot export medicines […].

A transfer of a drug between two European countries is considered an import/export operation

, ”recalls the USPO.

In China, recent decisions by public health authorities have led to an outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic: hospitals and doctors are under attack, and medicines, including Paxlovid, are running out.

Enough to push residents to turn to the black market, where prices are skyrocketing, according to AFP, exceeding several thousand euros for just a few tablets.

In France, this treatment is reserved for people at risk of a serious form, and it only costs a few euros.

Read alsoCovid-19: three years after the announcement of the first death in China, the four scenarios of 2023 for the pandemic

Alerted, the Ministry of Health confirmed to the Union that it had spotted this abnormal situation.

The authorities have therefore launched an investigation to identify who, among patients, doctors and pharmacists, maintains this traffic.

Heavy penalties hang over the culprits.

We will have to be intransigent.

It is not tolerable for Paxlovid to expire in warehouses, but it is not normal for it to be diverted and for people to make profits on it

, ”protests the president of the USPO.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-14

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