Health. Is there a risk of a shortage of pharmacists in France?

On Franceinfo this Sunday, the president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF), Philippe Besset, sounded the alarm. “There is a lack of 10% of the workforce”, he declared, ensuring that he was “able to recruit 15,000 pharmacists”.

According to him, this lack is explained in particular by “the additional public health missions” which have been entrusted to pharmacies in recent years, such as vaccination and screening. » VSa requires ten minutes more per act, with hundreds of thousands more acts per week,” explains Philippe Besset.

According to demographic data as of January 1, 2022 from the National Order of Pharmacists, the number of professionals has nevertheless increased by 2.8% in ten years. But this figure remains insufficient in relation to the needs.

A third of vacancies at the university

And the harm could be deep and lasting. At the end of September, the National Association of Pharmacy Students of France (Anepf) worried about a possible shortage of pharmacists in five years in France. For the start of the 2022 school year, nearly a third of places (1,100 places) were vacant in the pharmacy sector, an increase of 550% compared to 2021. “This increase suggests a worrying future for the profession of pharmacist, suffering from already of a shortage of human resources within the profession for several years now”, worried the union.

These vacant places can be explained, for the Anepf, in particular by « the unequal application of the Reform of entry into health studies ». “The defective application of the reform, programs that are far too busy, as well as an absence of local monitoring committees are among other things responsible for this fall in the number of promotions,” estimates Anepf.

A point of view shared by Philippe Besset this morning on Franceinfo, who accused the Ministry of Health of having « focused on the reform of the training of doctors » and of having « completely forgotten the sectors associated with midwifery and pharmacist who find it extremely difficult to explain that it is the same initial examination which makes it possible to become a doctor, a pharmacist or a midwife ».

But Anepf also noted, in mid-September, “a great lack of attractiveness for the pharmaceutical professions”.

This lack of attractiveness and these vacant places at university are all the more problematic as the profession is aging. According to figures from the Order of Pharmacists, 36.1% of licensed pharmacists are now over 55 years old. But in some regions, such as Eure-et-Loir or the Alpes-Maritimes, this rate exceeds 45%.


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