French gov't bans online sales of paracetamol due to drug lack

GENEVA – Faced with drug supply shortages, the French government is banning online sales of paracetamol, a fever and painkiller widely present in French pharmacies.

"The sale over the internet of medicines consisting exclusively of paracetamol will be suspended until Jan. 31, 2023," the government said in a decree published Wednesday on the official government website.

The decree stated that "tensions over paracetamol-based medicines have persisted for more than six months," especially those forms intended for children.

The government said: "The various measures taken by the health authorities, effective as they have been, have not yet made it possible to put an end to this."

For several months now, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) has been asking pharmacists in France to ration the sale of paracetamol.

Last December, the Health Ministry already warned that despite these measures, the situation remained "complex" and could not be resolved for several weeks.

In its Wednesday decree, the government pointed in particular to the worsening health situation in China, where Covid-19 cases have exploded following the sudden lifting of strict health restrictions.

The Chinese government had banned exports of paracetamol, even though the country produces much of the active ingredient, which is used by laboratories worldwide. (Anadolu)