Decline in the coverage of antigenic tests by Health Insurance: angry pharmacists

Since April 1, Health Insurance has paid pharmacists less for carrying out an antigenic test, €16.50 compared to €20 previously. Pharmacies now allow themselves the right not to screen a patient.

A decision they have in their noses. Since April 1, pharmacists are paid less for carrying out an antigenic test by Health Insurance. Screenings in pharmacies are now covered up to 16.50 euros, or 23% less than before (20 euros). In response, professionals in the sector allow themselves to refuse to test certain patients, if they do not have the capacity. In Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, all members of the Union of Community Pharmacists (USPO) follow these recommendations.

“Everyone does what they can. We told the colleagues to count. If they can’t continue, they shouldn’t get into trouble to do the tests. Faced with the price reduction imposed by the State, we don’t want to no longer disrupt our pharmacies”launches Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the USPO and also a pharmacist in Plombières-lès-Dijon (Côte-d’Or).

With the decline in health insurance coverage, pharmacy managers are no longer able to pay overtime to their employees or hire new employees. Establishments cannot therefore organize themselves to carry out antigenic tests.

“We have to say no to certain people, we can no longer accept everyone. We no longer want to disorganize our pharmacies. When we had a lot of tests to do per day, we completely disorganized our work and the patients told us ‘you no longer have time to listen to us'”.

In November 2020, screenings carried out in pharmacies were covered up to 31.50 euros by Health Insurance before a first drop on February 15 and then that of April 1.

All in a context where the number of tests carried out in France is on the rise again. In detail, 2 million tests were carried out during the week of March 7. There were 2.4 million the week of March 14, then 3 million and 3.1 million respectively during the last two weeks.

The USPO also denounces unequal treatment vis-à-vis other health professionals. Pharmacists are indeed the least well paid specialists for carrying out antigenic tests with now 1.90 euros in income per test.

For comparison, home nurses are paid 13.40 euros and doctors 24.90 euros for the same act. “It makes us jumpgets carried away Pierre-Oliver Variot. Why for the same task, the prices are not the same?.

The state demobilizes us somewhere. We can see that what they really want is to no longer pay for the tests. But let them have the honesty to stop taking care completely and for everyone then.

Pierre-Olivier Variot, President of the Union of Community Pharmacists

Since the start of the health crisis, pharmacists have carried out nearly 90% of antigenic tests in France. “They are lowering the prices for the people who have made the most. The Ministry of Health tells us that we will be able to find our way around because we are doing a lot of volume. It is not going at all!”.

For community pharmacists, it is therefore unthinkable to maintain vaccination rates while preserving the quality of the tests carried out with this price drop. “If I have to pay people with the pay cut, I can’t do it anymore. Finally, I can do it by going to buy cheaper and less reliable tests. And that doesn’t want to do that. I don’t want to ask when I return a result if it is good or not good”.

The USPO then denounced an unconstitutional decision and filed an appeal with the Council of State.

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