Self-medication drugs are commonly used to treat symptoms of common illnesses that may not require
prescription of a physician. Until 2008, prescription-free drugs could not be purchased directly off the shelf
in pharmacies. The Ministry of Health legalized direct access to over-the-counter drugs (OTC) in pharmacies
in 2008 in order to develop the self-medication market. This policy aims to enable patients to treat common
diseases themselves and introduces price competition for OTC drugs.
Following the WHO alert for a risk of H1N1 pandemic, the French government has developed a national
plan to prevent and control an influenza pandemic. The plan is an operational tool, based on standardized
measures that the authorities can apply at different levels of the pandemic and has been implemented
since the beginning of the A(H1N1)crisis in April 2009.
The Minister of Health, Mme. Bachelot, presented last year a major reform package which would transform
radicall the organisation and the governance structure of health care provision in France. After months
of parliamentary debate, followed by back-and-forth discussions in the Senate the law was finally passed
in July 2009. The legislative process and principal changes to the reform since it was originally proposed
The Urban Health Networks initiative aims to reduce social and territorial health inequalities and to improve
access to health services in low-income neighborhoods. The networks bring together a wide range of public
and private actors involved in the provision of health and social care around small-scale targeted projects.
The National Health Insurance Fund offers a tri-annual contract to individual general practitioners with the aim
of improving the quality of care for chronic diseases, encouraging prevention and cost-efficient prescriptions.
Doctors will be paid on the basis of their results given a list of objectives set by the Health Insurance Fund.
The contracts are signed on a voluntary basis with individual doctors and can provide up to 6000 Euros annually.
The national cancer plan was launched by President Jacques Chirac in 2002 for the period 2003-2007.
It had ambitious objectives for improving quality of care, increasing cancer survival and changing attitudes
towards the disease. The cancer plan has been evaluated recently by two different instances on its financial
aspects and on its medical and scientific results. The results are not up to the expectations but there has been
a real progress in some domains.