COVID-19 containment measures, including masks, social distancing, and enhanced disinfection, have helped reduce seasonal epidemics, as shown by lower sales of common medicines in French pharmacies since fall, according to Jean-Marc Aubert, the head of the health data company IQVIA in France.
In particular, by late March, sales of cough sedatives dropped 54% over the year, broad-spectrum penicillin saw a 36% decline, that of non-steroidal antirheumatic drugs fell by 27%, local rhinological preparations by 36%, and intestinal transit inhibitors by 18%.
"It's simple, since October-November, for pharmacies, the winter season has not taken place!" Aubert said, as quoted by Les Echos on Friday.
However, the sales of vitamin C have increased, the expert noted, adding that it might be linked to people’s belief that the vitamin is effective against COVID-19.
The company also stated that such seasonal diseases as flu or gastroenteritis have not generally occurred during the winter. In particular, France has seen very few cases of the flu compared to an annual average of 2.5 million infections, while the number of people who were sick with gastroenteritis during the season fell by 30% compared to normal rates, Aubert explained.