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A roundtable devoted to innovation in pharmacies

A new model for pharmacies: future and prospects in the sign of innovation

  • "FarmacistaPiù," a roundtable devoted to innovation in pharmacies, an increasingly important element on which management processes of the Italian National Healthcare System and services to citizens are hinged.
  • A venue for discussing the present and future of this sector and the role of pharmacists. The panel included: Senator Andrea Mandelli - FOFI Chairman, Mario Del Vecchio - Professor of Business Economics at the University of Florence and at SDA Bocconi, Eugenio Leopardi - UTIFAR Chairman and Eugenio Aringhieri - Dompé CEO.
  • The objective is to outline the challenges and opportunities for pharmacies tomorrow, according to a model whose very strength is based on continuous collaboration between all healthcare stakeholders, including pharmaceutical companies, which are increasingly becoming partners of excellence in the "pharmacy system."

Florence, 18 March 2016. We are on the way to a "3.0” pharmacy. Modernisation of the Italian National Health System, globalisation of networks, evolution of legislation and institutional, social and market changes: the present and future of pharmacies and pharmacists appear to be rich in challenges and opportunities to seize, through an innovative model that allows providing the most effective response to citizens/patients in a landscape of high complexity characterized by the need to innovate continuously.

In this scenario, pharmacists represent today a profession that is constantly evolving: therefore, institutions, businesses and pharmacists themselves need to increasingly become the protagonists of a "value chain" that is able to innovate through shared processes.

This is the take-home message shared by the representatives of Italian authorities, the profession and the pharmaceutical industry who met at the symposium "Innovazione in farmacia, obiettivo possibile?” (Innovation in pharmacy, a possible objective?), as part of the "FarmacistaPiù” Conference currently underway in Florence. The round table saw the participation of Senator Andrea Mandelli - Chairman of FOFI (Federation of Italian Pharmacist Boards), Mario Del Vecchio - Professor of Business Economics at the University of Florence and at SDA Bocconi, Eugenio Leopardi - Chairman of UTIFAR (Italian Technical Union of Pharmacists), and Eugenio Aringhieri - Dompé CEO.
The common goal is quite simple, yet extremely complex: namely, taking stock of the change in model that has led the world of pharmacy to rethink itself and its role in a perspective increasingly focused on the ability to offer services locally and, at the same time, to establish a network-based logic to meet new patient needs.

"In Italy, each of the country's 8,000 municipalities has at least one pharmacy, for a total of over 18,0001. It is a real 'city of health’ that often represents the first line of contact for patients. And this picture is continuously evolving today: on the one hand, health needs are diversifying; on the other, the very role of pharmacist needs to take account of the structural changes in progress,” explains Eugenio Aringhieri, Dompé CEO. "Pharmacies are becoming increasingly 3.0, that is to say, they are part of a logic that is rooted locally and open to the opportunities of a network in which institutions and companies are strategic partners in tackling challenges on new fronts. And the world of industry too must do its part, focusing on incremental innovation as a competitive advantage in order to offer solutions that are adapted to the new needs."

On the other hand, pharmacies in the future are bound to be an increasingly important point of reference of the Italian National Health System both in operational and management terms, thereby posing new challenges for professionals that need to find the right answers at a political level and above all at an organizational level. "The sustainability of the Italian National Health System calls for a set of different moves, one of which is surely the shift of the centre of gravity of care from hospitals to the local territory, matched by the need to empower citizens,” adds Mario Del Vecchio, professor of Business Economics at the University of Florence and SDA Bocconi. "Pharmacies are a crucial node in order to meet the demand of patients for drugs, as well as for services. Suffice it to say that almost half of private health expenditure (which totals more than €30 billion2) consists of goods and most of these are handled by pharmacies. This is a fact that gives us an idea of the strategic importance of pharmacies within the health system and of their potential in ensuring the quality of services and the sustainability of the entire system."

The challenge starting from Florence, in short, is clear: the profession of pharmacist needs to be reshaped in light of epoch-making changes that are expected in the management of healthcare in order to ensure that pharmacies continue playing a key role in the management of the health of citizens. Through technology and the creation of "processes" that are able to involve all the stakeholders concerned, charting out a future in the sign of innovation is certainly not a utopic quest. Indeed, it is the future of a key profession that is bound to further augment its value.


1 Source: Federfarma, http://www.federfarma.it/Farmaci-e-farmacie/Farmacie-e-farmacisti-in-Italia/La-presenza-delle-farmacie-sul-territorio.aspx

2 Source: Elaborazione OCPS-SDA Bocconi su dati Cergas Bocconi (Spesa Sanitaria Pubblica), Corte dei conti (Copayment), ISTAT- Nuovi Conti Nazionali (Spesa sanitaria delle famiglie, PIL).