Pharmacies since 2000 - Changes in a highly regulated sector
Aline Ferrante, division Commerce, Insee
In 2012, there were almost 24,000 pharmacies in France. Their combined turnover stood at 38 billion euros, which in value is 53% more than in 2000. In recent years, value growth in the pharmaceuticals retail trade, which has traditionally always been dynamic, has waned somewhat due to the fall in prices of reimbursable medicines. However, the margin rate has picked up since 2006 and reached 27.5% in 2012. In 2012, reimbursable medicines still accounted for the majority of pharmacies' turnover, but their weight had fallen to the benefit of non-reimbursable specialities, the price index of which grew sharply over the period 2000-2012. Para-pharmaceutical products took off, although they clearly remained minority products. Over the same period the legal landscape of pharmacies also changed. Joint operations have become the most common form because of the difficulties of creating new pharmacies. Professional Practices, which offer greater advantages in terms of tax and transferal, are booming: in 2012, more than one pharmacy in four was operating under this status. On average, a pharmacy serves 2700 inhabitants in Metropolitan France, but the territorial distribution is not uniform.