French Council of State approves the sale of hearing assistive devices in pharmacies


Conseil d'Etat
French Council of State ©BS

In a decision issued in late June, the Conseil d’Etat gave its go-ahead for the approval of sales of sound amplifiers in pharmacies, rejecting appeals from professional unions.

The professional unions in France (Unsaf and CNA) had in fact asked the Council to override a Ministerial Order of August 2014 on this topic. Although the unions were not successful in their move, the reasons given by the Council will be a source of satisfaction.

When approving the sale of amplifiers, the Council highlighted the fact that these products (hearing assistive devices) are not “hearing aids” and that the latter can be dispensed only by hearing aid professionals. The decision mentions that “given, on the one hand, the properties of these devices that allow only adjustment of amplification volume, and on the other, their low power that enables them solely to correct mild hearing deficits mainly due to age and affecting both ears in the same conditions, the hearing assistive devices in question (despite being medical devices…) cannot be considered hearing aids supplied in the context of rehabilitation of hearing deficiency […].

The Council also reiterated that hearing aids can only be fitted by professionals accredited to do so, on medical prescription, and who have the necessary qualifications and diplomas or certifications mentioned in corresponding regulations.

From their perspective, the company manufacturing and supplying these devices, the start-up Sonalto (Urgo Group), said they welcomed the decision. According to Sonalto co-founder Maxence Petit “Sonalto is very pleased with this announcement that allows our 5,000 partner pharmacies to continue enabling customers to try our hearing assistive devices free of charge and to supply them to the broadest possible public.”

Source: Audio Infos France