Stung with blood, the biologists mobilized en masse. “The participation rate is at this time at 95%”, indicated during a press conference Alain Le Meur, spokesman for the Alliance of medical biology, which brings together the four unions and the major groups of private laboratories.

“We are all mobilized because the government refuses to hear us and dialogue”, he said, recalling that the sector remains “favorable to an exceptional contribution” of around 250 million euros on the only year 2023, in respect of the profits made over the past two years thanks to the Covid tests.

A message variously appreciated by users who are often taken by surprise. Like Jean, 69, who did not want to give his last name, in front of the closed door of a laboratory in the center of Paris, when he needs a PCR test in anticipation of a colonoscopy. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he grumbles, before getting carried away: “The labs are broke, it’s scary. Whatever it costs has been great, they’re in great happiness and want more”.

A little further, the medical center managed by Health Insurance remained open, however, to the greatest relief of Marine, 32 years old. “This is the third lab I’ve done since this morning, I came here in desperation” breathes the one who needs analyzes “on very specific dates”.

Same surprise in Bordeaux, where Maxence Rey, 22, raises his hands when he discovers the poster announcing the closure. Came to collect the results of a blood test, the student is torn: “I needed it for Wednesday and I can’t come tomorrow because I have class. In principle, I understand” but “it get a little drunk”.

– “I will not let go” –

A lesser evil, according to biologists, opposed for more than a month to the price reductions demanded by the executive, which would affect all acts of medical analysis and would last beyond 2023.

This “austerity madness” would threaten “at least 10% of the sites and the associated jobs”, said Thierry Bouchet, president of the Syndicate of clinical biology laboratories (SLBC). “We are heading towards biological deserts, our patients are completely in danger”, added his counterpart from the National Union of Biologist Doctors (SNMB) Jean-Claude Azoulay.

Arguments defeated by the government, which judges that the laboratories have the means to pay. “They can make an effort, I will not give up on this subject”, declared the Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, on LCI, pointing to the “high profitability” of the sector, “increased from 18% to 30%” at the favor of the health crisis.

“Cruncinated or even manipulated figures, with the aim of making us look like war profiteers”, retorts Aurélie François, general manager of Eurofins Biologie Médicale, explaining that the minister confused gross margin and net profits, which went from 12% to 16% of a turnover boosted by a screening policy “with a vengeance, on the express order of the government”.

After weeks of deaf dialogue, “we call on Emmanuel Macron”, launched Thierry Bouchet, specifying that this sling will end on Wednesday evening. “All the labs will be open on Thursday morning”, but “we will see, depending on the answer that will be given to us, whether this strike can be renewed” then.

Meanwhile, the Social Security budget should be adopted in the Senate on Tuesday, with an amendment taking up the proposal of the biologists to the letter, before returning to the Assembly next week.

“We are not closed to any option”, assures the Ministry of Health, who asks them to “return to the negotiating table” and hopes that this “inadmissible strike” does not put “in danger the paths of patient care” .