• France's news in English

French ‘take 48 boxes of pills every year’

Dan MacGuill · 11 Jul 2013, 12:37

Published: 11 Jul 2013 12:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

France’s ‘Agence de sécurité de médicament’ (ANSM) reported this week that the French take an average of 48 boxes of medication each year, meaning the country as whole popped three billion pills last year.

The report also found that sales of generic medication went up in France in 2012, and that the top three types of tablets were painkillers, followed by psychotropics (mood enhancement, ADHD) and antibiotics.

In all, ANSM put the value of the French market for meds at a whopping €27.2 billion in 2012.

If taking 48 boxes of pills seems surprising, this week’s report is only the latest confirm the long-standing stereotype of the French being health obsessed pill poppers. A report in June revealed that the consumption of an antibiotics in France was on the rise.

The finger of blame for why the French take so many pills is often pointed at the country's prescription happy doctors.

A 2011 study by France's national medical insurance body, the CPAM claimed doctors in France prescribed too many different medicines to patients, but it also noted the patients themselves felt cheated if they were not given a long list of products.

In April this year a report by France’s National Academy of Medicine slammed doctors for sending their patients for “pointless” tests.

“We’re making patients think they have these illnesses, because of uncertain screening. Then all you’re doing is putting a new disease in the mind of the patient,” Dr. Jean Dubousset, a Paris-based orthopaedic surgeon, told The Local at the time.

Last September, a controversial book penned by two leading French experts claimed that half of the medicines available in France were useless, and that some were even dangerous.

Story continues below…

At the time, Philippe Even, director of the Necker Institute, condemned pharmaceuticals as “the most lucrative, most cynical and least ethical of all the industries."

There concerns appeared to be confirmed when in May Bernard Begaud, a French expert, claimed that side effects from prescribed medication alone were killing 18,000 every year, more than suicide and traffic accidents combined.

Are the French really too obsessed about health? Is a reputation for hypochondria deserved? Share your view and join the conversation in the comments section below.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available