Summary of our market study

The global pharmaceuticals market has grown significantly, increasing by 12% in 2021 to over $1,400 billion, and is expected to reach $2,067 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.70%.

In France, pharmacies have adapted to digitalization and diversified their offerings within pharmacy groups. Pharmacists' remuneration has been reformed to introduce new dispensing fees to cope with the impact of falling drug prices. The United States continues to dominate global sales, with a 40.8% share in 2021, while France ranks second in Europe for the number of pharmacies.

During the pandemic, French pharmacists were authorized to administer Covid-19 vaccines, reinforcing their role in healthcare. Despite these advances, problems such as regular pharmacy closures in France and the risk of stock-outs for certain drugs have been noted, with reports of stock-outs or risk of stock-outs increasing in 2022, twice as much as in 2021. The e-parapharmacy sector, in particular, has seen significant growth, reflecting a move towards new distribution channels.

The French pharmacy market is changing: adapting to new demands and digitization

The French pharmacy market, an essential link in the healthcare distribution chain, has witnessed a significant transformation in recent years, particularly accentuated by the health crisis. Deeply rooted in traditional practices, French pharmacies have seen a sharp increase in demand, with market sales rising by around 20% in three years, from around €40 billion to almost €50 billion by 2022.

French consumers have established a unique bond with pharmacies, demonstrating great trust and loyalty, particularly among the elderly and those with health problems. The data suggest that this loyalty tends to fade slightly among younger people and those living further away from a pharmacy, indicating a potential area for market diversification and digital engagement strategies. On the digital front, French pharmacies are gradually integrating technology into their business models. This is because consumers are increasingly ready to adopt digital health solutions. The use of online platforms could enable pharmacies to extend their reach, particularly among the population that has not yet fully embraced the traditional pharmacy model.

The French pharmaceutical landscape has also been shaped by regulatory reforms aimed at supporting pharmacy profitability in a context of falling drug prices. One notable intervention has been the introduction of dispensing fees, structured to offset declining sales margins and support pharmacies' long-term financial health. In line with global pharmaceutical trends and changing patient behavior, demand for certain drugs in France is becoming more targeted. The concentration of sales around a select group of drugs is increasing, with the 100 top-selling drugs by value accounting for almost half of total sales.

Despite strong confidence in the pharmacy network, the French population is concerned about frequent stock-outs of medicines, a situation that could be exacerbated by the focus on the most popular pharmaceutical products. To remedy this situation, pharmacies could benefit from diversifying their stocks and strengthening the resilience of their supply chain. In addition, recent years have seen remarkable growth in online parapharmacy, an online sales segment comprising over-the-counter health and wellness products.

While the traditional pharmacy sector is catching up, platforms such as Santé Discount received a boost during the health crisis, signalling a sector ripe for innovation and development.

The French pharmacy market, like its international counterparts, is in the throes of change and facing up to new consumer expectations.

A dynamic group of market influencers in the French pharmacy sector

The French pharmacy market is a diverse ecosystem made up of key players, each of whom plays a crucial role in facilitating consumer access to medicines and related healthcare products. These players range from pharmaceutical laboratories to wholesaler-distributors, pharmacies, cooperatives and pharmacy chains, as well as regulatory bodies and government institutions. This complex structure not only keeps the market competitive and innovative, but also ensures compliance with regulatory requirements, putting patient safety and care first.

Here is an overview of the main market players presented in the previous text:

  • Pharmaceutical laboratories: Among the most important players in the drug supply chain, these entities are responsible for the discovery, development and manufacture of medicines. They are at the heart of innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. Renowned laboratories such as Sanofi, Pfizer, Bayer and Novartis are outstanding representatives, not only in France but worldwide. Their cutting-edge research and development efforts enable the development of effective medicines, including such best-selling drugs as Eliquis, Xarelto, Lucentis, Doliprane and Ibrance, which are essential for the treatment of a wide range of conditions.

  • Wholesaler-distributors: These are the intermediaries between pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. They play an essential role in the efficient distribution of medicines throughout the country. Wholesaler-distributors optimize the supply chain by buying in bulk from various manufacturers and supplying these goods to pharmacies in a timely and orderly fashion, ensuring that stock levels are always maintained.

  • French government and regulatory bodies: The French government and institutions such as regional health agencies work in harmony to oversee the pharmacy market. They establish regulations that dictate how medicines are to be sold, distributed and consumed, ensuring that public health remains a top priority. The French government has played a key role in restructuring healthcare, notably by reforming the pharmacy remuneration model.

  • Pharmacies and pharmacy chains: Local pharmacies are at the forefront of healthcare provision in France. They are not just commercial entities, but also health centers where pharmacists provide essential healthcare services such as analysis, dispensing and advice. The expansion of pharmacy chains and the grouping of pharmacies into cooperatives serve a dual purpose: better price negotiation and the creation of common brand identities that meet the needs of a diverse consumer base. These groupings encourage the development of unique offers and better marketing strategies.

  • Digital platforms and online pharmacy services: The digital transformation of the pharmacy market is an emerging trend.
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  • Last update : 06/11/2023
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

Pharmacies are physical outlets for the sale of medicines and body care products. Pharmacy is the specialty that brings together pharmacists working in these places, intermediaries in distribution to the public.

The players involved in the French pharmacy market are pharmaceutical laboratories, wholesaler-distributors, the French government, regional health agencies, pharmacies and groups of pharmacy chains.

The global market for drugs at producer prices is growing rapidly. According to IQVIA, it has grown by over 12% in 2021, to exceed $1,400 billion. It is expected to continue to grow at a CAGR of 5.70% over the period 2022-2028, reaching $2,067 billion in 2028. [GlobeNewswire]. This growth is particularly evident in global spending by the pharmaceutical industry, which has been rising steadily since the pandemic. On a European scale, France ranks second in terms of the number of pharmacies(21,760 in 2022), behind Spain and ahead of Germany.

The French market has been undergoing major restructuring since the health crisis.Growing since 2015, it has seen a particularly sharp increase post-health crisis, with market sales rising from €39.77 billion in 2019 to €47.808 billion in 2022, representing a 20% increase in3 years . Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, pharmacists' dispensaries have been called upon to help on the anti-pandemic front, whether for advice, tests or vaccines. [Insee]

Today, pharmacies are gradually moving towards digitizing their processes. Customers seem ready to give pharmacists a greater role in looking after their health.

Finally, the traditionally standardized offering is beginning to diversify, notably within pharmacist groups. These cooperatives now have a dual mission: to negotiate competitive prices with wholesalers and laboratories, but also to develop brands with shared values, with a view to creating a brand image and a unique offering.

Another complex issue is the remuneration of pharmacists, threatened by falling drug prices. A reform of pharmacy remuneration has therefore been put in place between 2018 and 2020 to protect the profession by introducing three new dispensingfees per prescription, which can be added together to compensate for the drop in sales margins.

1.2 A global pharmaceuticals market that continues to grow despite the health crisis

Size of the global pharmaceuticals market

In ****, the global pharmaceuticals market grew at a steady pace, driven by dynamic sales in many emerging markets (***) and, to a lesser extent, in Europe.According to IQVIA, it will grow by over **% in ****, to exceed $*,*** billion. This sharp acceleration is due to the marketing ...

1.3 The French pharmacy market

Size of the French pharmacy market

In the Insee nomenclature, pharmacies are recorded under NAF code **.**Z: retail sale of pharmaceutical products in specialized stores. Insee has produced the following graph, which shows the evolution of sales excluding VAT for this activity over the period ****-****.

Pharmaceutical retail sales excluding VAT ...

1.4 Before and after the health crisis for pharmacists

The changing image of pharmacists

During the Covid-** health crisis, pharmacists were on the front line. They played a key role throughout the crisis, which improved their image among the French. Indeed, **% of patients say they have a more positive image of pharmacists than before. **% of them say they have an ...

1.5 Foreign trade in French medicines

The French pharmaceutical industry has a strong international outlook, with almost half of its revenues generated by exports every year.

Value of French exports of pharmaceutical preparations France, *****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

After strong increases in **** and ****, French exports of pharmaceutical preparations stalled in **** (***), reaching a value of ** billion ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Drug consumption in France

As a result of the health crisis, sales of medicines have risen by more than **% worldwide in ****, according to IQVIA estimates. The pandemic led to a sharp rise in demand for vaccines in many countries around the world. Over the medium term, the global pharmaceuticals market had already grown at a ...

2.2 The French and pharmacy

Vaccination against Covid-** is one of the most effective measures for reducing severe forms and deaths due to Sars-CoV-*. To improve accessibility to the vaccines, French pharmacists were authorized to prescribe and administer them in March ****. The PharmaCoVax study, which aims to assess the satisfaction of users who have benefited from ...

2.3 Demand expectations

Expectations for the future of the industry

The survey also reveals French people's opinions on the future of the industry.

Demand opinion on potential developments in the pharmacy sector France, ****, in % of favorable opinions Source: ****

For the possibility of remote ordering and in-store collection, the percentage of favorable respondents rises to ...

2.4 Targeted drugs and the risk of stock-outs

The leem report shows that the majority of pharmacies' supplies are for the same drugs.

*Sales expressed in manufacturer's prices excluding tax

Source: ****

The market has become concentrated around the main drugs, and pharmacists' demand, which follows prescription demand, has been refocusing on a smaller number of drugs over the ...

3 Market structure

3.1 The French pharmaceutical industry value chain and drug production

Drug industry value chain

Source: ****

Source: ****

Source: ****

The Leem report breaks down sales of drugs at manufacturer's prices sold in pharmacies, according to whether or not they are reimbursable.

Sales of pharmaceuticals at manufacturer's prices excluding VAT France, ****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

The market is recovering slightly after a ...

3.2 Pharmacies in France

The number of pharmacies in France is falling

The number of pharmacies in France has been falling steadily for over ** years. In ****, the network will consist of **,*** dispensaries, down *. *% on **** and **% on ****. The pharmacy market is undergoing major restructuring.

number of pharmacies France, ****-****, in thousands Source: ****

These closures reflect the ...

3.3 The financial structure of pharmacies

The Pharm'Exco website provides detailed average data on margins, fixed costs, payroll, EBITDA and management remuneration for pharmacies, according to sales and location. As this content is very dense, it will not be fully reported here, and only the national averages will be extracted in the table below.

Source: ****

Breakdown of ...

3.4 The boom in e-parapharmacy and new distribution channels

E-pharmacy boom

Online sales of parapharmaceutical products have grown strongly during the health crisis, despite the lag in the industry (***). Sales on the Santé Discount platform, for example, jumped by **% in **** , and the pure player estimated sales of around *** billion euros in ****, representing a further increase of **%. [***]

Pharmacist groups are also ...

3.5 Pharmacy groups and brands

Pharmacist groups are collectives of dispensing pharmacists. They come together to cooperate and develop their business, but also, in some cases, to share a common concept, in which case they are referred to as XXL pharmacies, green pharmacies, etc.

Pharmacy groups

The first advantage offered by pharmacy groups is greater competitiveness ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Consumer price index for drugs

The Leem report compares the cost-of-living index, which rose by **% between **** and ****, with the public price index for drugs (***), which fell by **.**% over the same period.

change in the consumer price index for drugs France, ****-****, base *** in **** Source: ****

This drop can be explained by the fact that theprice index for ...

4.2 Supply trends: towards digitalization of the business

Pharmacies lag far behind in digitalization

Pharmacists are still lagging far behind when it comes to digitalization. The restrictive regulatory framework for online drug sales in France, the need for investment in terms of both time and money, and a reluctance or inability to use technology are all factors holding back ...

4.3 Offer typology

Offer typology by business sector

Source: ****

5 Regulations

5.1 General regulations

Restrictions on installation and sales

Ordinance no. ****-* of January *, ****, known as the "maillage territorial des officines" ordinance, ensures the harmonious distribution of pharmacies across the country. Thus, the creation must respect: * dispensary for every *,*** inhabitants (***) and * dispensary for every additional *,*** inhabitants. The population taken into account is that resulting from ...

5.2 Pharmacy remuneration reform

Reform of regulations governing creations, transfers and groupings

Following on from the law of January **, ****,Ordinance no. ****-* of January *, **** has several objectives:

Clarification of the provisions relating to the conditions for authorizing the opening of pharmacies, by way of creation, transfer and regrouping ; Provisions to encourage the establishment of pharmacies ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation: groups and chains

  • Giphar groupe
  • Pharmactiv (OCP Group)
  • Alphega Pharmacie
  • Giropharm
  • Leader Sante Groupe
  • Tanguy Parapharmacie
  • Arkopharma
  • Sanofi Aventis
  • Novartis
  • Hygie 31- Laf Santé
  • Elsie Santé
  • Pharmacorp (Hygie 31 groupe)
  • Leader Price
  • Pharmabest
  • Sephora
  • Aprium Pharmacie - Healthy Group
  • OCP Répartition (Phoenix Group)
  • Phoenix Pharma
  • Pharmony
  • Apsara
  • Pharma Santé Développement
  • La cooperative Welcoop
  • Global Pharmacie
  • Aelia
  • Cofisanté
  • Eurodep
  • Agir Pharma
  • APM Les Pharmacies de Méditérannée
  • Apothéo
  • Apothical
  • Apothicoop
  • APP Côte d'azur
  • Aptiphar
  • Artesipharm
  • Artisan Santé
  • Avenir Pharma
  • Be Pharma
  • Boticinal
  • Bretagne Santé Référence
  • Cali Pharma
  • Cap unipharm
  • Cercle des Pharmaciens Coopérateurs
  • Coté Pharma
  • Dephie
  • DL santé
  • DPGS
  • DPO Groupe
  • Dynamis
  • Elfimaje Majelis
  • Escale santé
  • Evolupharm
  • Farmax
  • Flexi Plus Pharma
  • Forum santé
  • G Plus Pharma
  • GFC Pharma
  • Gripamel
  • Groupapharm
  • Happy Pharmacie
  • Hello Pharmacie
  • Lab Officine
  • Le Gall santé Services
  • Les Pharmaciens d'armor
  • Magdaléon
  • Maxipharma
  • Mediprix
  • Mutualpharm
  • Nextypharm
  • Normandie Pharma
  • Norpharma
  • Objectif Pharma
  • OmnesPharma
  • Optopharm
  • Originsanté
  • Orphie Groupement de Pharmaciens
  • Orphie Provence
  • Oté pharma
  • Paraph
  • PDA Pharma
  • Pharm & Free
  • Pharm Auvergne
  • Pharm O Naturel
  • Pharm Upp
  • Pharm-Agir
  • Pharma 10
  • Pharma france
  • Pharma Platinum
  • Pharma provence Groupe
  • Pharma Sud
  • Pharma Synergie
  • Pharmaciens du sud
  • Pharmacies groupe Rocade
  • Pharmacyal
  • Pharmadinina
  • Pharmadirect
  • Pharmadn
  • Pharm ici
  • Pharmamarket (Antwerpia groupe)
  • Pharmarem
  • Pharmatomic
  • Pharmavance
  • Pharmavenir
  • Pharmaxial
  • Pharmidée
  • Pharmodel
  • Positive Pharma
  • Quartz groupement Pharmacies
  • Réseau Katalys
  • Réseau P&P
  • Réseau Pharma Méditerranée
  • Réseau Santé
  • Resofficine
  • Resonor Soprophar
  • Santalis
  • Socopharm
  • Sofiadis
  • Solution Réseau d'Achat Pharm Etoile
  • Sopharef
  • STC Pharma
  • Sunipharma
  • Suprapharm
  • Synaps Pharma
  • Synergiphar
  • Teleconsult Pharma
  • Totum pharmaciens
  • Union des Grandes Pharmacies
  • Unipharm
  • Unipharm Loire Océan
  • Univers Pharmacies
  • VPharma
  • Ynova group

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Pharmaceutical retail sales in specialized stores, excluding VAT
  • Breakdown of drug sales
  • Trends in global pharmaceutical market spending (against a backdrop of health crisis)
  • Geographical breakdown of worldwide drug sales
  • Size of the global pharmaceuticals market
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Latest news

Sanofi plans to spin off its Consumer Healthcare business in 2024 - 28/10/2023
  • Year of separate listing of Sanofi's Consumer Healthcare Division: 2024
  • Sanofi envisages savings of: up to 2 billion euros between 2024 and the end of 2025
  • Presence of Sanofi Consumer Healthcare Division: 150 countries, more than 11,000 employees
Sanofi to spin off its consumer healthcare division and float it on the stock market - 27/10/2023
  • Sanofi is a French pharmaceutical company
  • The Consumer Healthcare division has over 11,000 employees in 150 countries.
  • The demerger of Consumer Healthcare will take place in the fourth quarter of 2024 at the earliest.
  • This division accounts for just over 10% of Group sales.
  • In 2022, the Consumer Healthcare division generated 5.1 billion euros of Sanofi's 43 billion euros in sales.
  • The Consumer Healthcare division posted growth of 13.7% in 2022.
  • By 2021, the global consumer healthcare market will be worth over €180 billion.
  • The market share of Haleon, the world leader in consumer healthcare, is estimated at 6% in 2021.
  • The over-the-counter segment accounts for 90 billion euros, vitamins, minerals and supplements for 50 billion euros, and oral care for almost 30 billion euros.
  • Its Dupixent sales approach 11 billion euros in annual sales.
  • Beyfortus vaccine is currently marketed in 4 countries, including France.
Sephora to rapidly increase sales from 12 to 20 billion euros - 23/10/2023
  • Sephora is the world leader in selective perfumery.
  • LVMH has owned Sephora since 1997.
  • The Sephora store on the Champs Elysées welcomes 10,000 visitors a day.
  • The global beauty market grew by 6% last year to reach 250 billion euros.
  • Sephora has forecast 17% growth by 2022.
  • The brand has 2,700 stores.
  • By 2022, according to analysts, Sephora has almost reached 12 billion euros in sales.
Beauty: how Sephora is expanding in the United States - 07/10/2023
  • America is its first market
  • The French group opened its first store there twenty-five years ago
  • Today, it has 658 directly-operated stores on the American market, including 22 in New York
  • Sephora is present in 35 markets with 2,700 stores
  • A $430 billion industry according to McKinsey
  • The United States will consolidate its position as the world's leading beauty market, growing from $70 billion in 2022 to around $100 billion in 2027 (McKinsey).
  • The brand contributes 20% of LVMH sales and 12% of the Ebit of the number one in luxury goods.
  • sephora is America's leading selective retailer.
  • American retailer Kohl's, which has stores in 29 states, partnered with Sephora in 2020, and they share 862 "Sephora Kohl's".
Sephora and Zalando end their partnership - 09/09/2023
  • The partnership between Sephora and Zalando began in Germany in the fourth quarter of 2021.
  • The partnership was extended to Zalando's other European markets in 2022, including Italy
  • Two years after the start of the partnership, the collaboration comes to an end.
  • Sephora is a subsidiary of LVMH.
  • Sephora's aim in 2021 was to compete with Douglas (Nocibé in France), which has a greater presence in Europe.
Sanofi inaugurates Europe's largest vaccine plant at Val-de-Reuil - 07/09/2023
  • Sanofi's vaccine plant in Val-de-Reuil celebrated its 50th anniversary.
  • Sanofi has invested 250 million euros in two modernization/expansion projects at the plant, which employs 2,200 people.
  • It ships 600 million doses of vaccines worldwide every year.
  • Sanofi has set up a new influenza vaccine production unit, at a cost of 200 million euros.
  • Over the past ten years, Sanofi has invested 600 million euros in Val-de-Reuil.
  • Sanofi plans to double sales of its vaccines division between 2018 and 2030, to more than 10 billion euros a year.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Giphar groupe
Pharmactiv (OCP Group)
Alphega Pharmacie
Leader Sante Groupe
Tanguy Parapharmacie
Sanofi Aventis
Hygie 31- Laf Santé
Elsie Santé

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