French Alcohol, Perfume Producers Join Coronavirus Fight

French alcohol producer Pernod Ricard announced Wednesday that it would donate 70,000 litres of pure alcohol to a health company manufacturing hand sanitiser amid shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Paris-based luxury goods giant LVMH has also instructed its perfumes division to produce hydroalcoholic gel to aid French authorities battling the health crisis.

Pernod-Ricard, the Paris-based company that owns the Absolut Vodka brand, said Wednesday it was donating 70,000 litres of pure alcohol to Laboratoire Cooper, one of France's leaders in everyday health products, and the leading supplier of hydroalcoholic gels to pharmacies.

This would allow Cooper to increase alcohol deliveries to pharmacies to produce hydroalcoholic gel, the equivalent of approximately 1.8 million individual 50 ml vials. In turn, Laboratoire Cooper committed to donating the equivalent of the donation to various health care associations.

The offer came amid shortages in antibacterial gels in pharmacies as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak a deadly toll, with the number of confirmed cases increasing Wednesday to more than 200,000 worldwide with 8,248 deaths, according to John Hopkins University.

France is among the worst-hit countries in Europe, the new epicentre of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Earlier this month, France announced a cap on hand sanitiser prices after a pharmacists’ union said the price rise was unacceptable and called for government intervention.

Perfume giant offers help

French luxury conglomerate LVMH -- which owns the Louis Vuitton as well as Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy brands -- has also joined the effort to help provide hand sanitisers to aid health workers.

The Paris-based company on Sunday announced that its cosmetics unit would manufacture large quantities of hand disinfectant gel to help stave off a nationwide shortage across France as the coronavirus rapidly spreads.

"LVMH will use the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic brands ... to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gels from Monday," LVMH said in a statement.

"These gels will be delivered free of charge to the health authorities," LVMH added.

The gel will be delivered to the French health authorities and the Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris.

The AP-HP is a network of 39 teaching hospitals around France that treat more than 10 million people per year, according to the AP-HP website.

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This article originally appeared at France 24.