According to Gilles Bonnefond, the president of the Union of trade unions of dispensing pharmacists, the general public has not really understood the usefulness of the self-tests available in pharmacies for a little less than a month.

And patients tend to want to use them in lieu of PCR tests.

Since April 12, the Covid-19 self-tests have been marketed in pharmacies.

It is possible to buy them for only 6 euros the unit, then they will pass to 5.20 euros from May 15, according to a decree published in the Official Journal in order to regulate the prices.

However, the craze is not overflowing in pharmacies.

While almost all pharmacies in the country have ordered them, the public is not scrambling to buy them.

Worse, it seems that the French who come to seek it did not understand what this test was for.

"Self-tests are not indicated for contact or symptomatic patients"

"Patients who ask us for self-tests are not eligible for these new tests," points out to Europe 1 Gilles Bonnefond, president of the Union of community pharmacists' unions. "You have requests for contact patients, and self-tests are not indicated for contact or symptomatic patients," he emphasizes.

The self-test was set up to screen for Covid-19 in people over 15 years of age who have not been in contact with patients and who have no symptoms, therefore who are not required to go to a doctor or laboratory.

But it is only of real interest if it is practiced regularly, for example twice a week, because it more easily detects the virus at the onset of the disease, when it is more present in the body.

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A risk for the traceability of the epidemic

“More than 60% of pharmacists were forced to refuse the sale of self-tests and redirected people to antigenic tests or PCR tests,” reports Gilles Bonnefond.

"It is extremely serious. If the self-tests replace the antigenic tests, there will no longer be the possibility for the public authorities to have a traceability of the evolution of the virus. It would be dramatic, whereas we have tools which allow us to follow the evolution of Covid-19 and its variants ", he warns. 

This pharmacist believes that the authorities have not insisted enough on the purpose of these tests.

"I think the message must be reinforced. A reminder and a communication from the public authorities will be welcome," he points out.