How are independent pharmacies preparing themselves for the digital future? Around 300 pharmacists discussed this question with experts at the PHOENIX Pharmacy Partnership conference in Berlin. This network is the umbrella organisation for the PHOENIX group’s 12 existing pharmacy cooperation programmes in 15 countries. Over 9,000 independent pharmacies are members of Europe’s largest network for pharmacy cooperations.
“Great steps are being taken towards digitisation in the healthcare industry. New players are appearing on the market, and pressure on healthcare budgets is increasing. It is therefore essential that pharmacies move even closer to their customers”, remarked Oliver Windholz, CEO of the PHOENIX group. He believes access to digitisation will be crucial for success.
Futurists like Bertalan Meskó and experts from the pharmaceutical industry and trade agreed that bricks-and-mortar dispensing pharmacies would remain, but that their range, services, and communication channels would change significantly, with a move towards more intensive and individual patient care.
The pharmacy of the future would become a “point of care”, a central hub for local healthcare. The focus would be on personalised care for every patient – for example in dosing the active ingredients of a drug. The pharmacy could use digital channels to advise the customer on every aspect of healthcare.
The slogan for the two-day event was “Your Access to Success”. “The PHOENIX pharmacy cooperation programmes in Europe are an ideal platform to help individual pharmacies to compete successfully in a rapidly changing world. After all, together we are stronger”, continued Windholz.
The programmes respond to local market requirements and exploit transnational synergies through the European network. They offer members direct access to sales and marketing services, purchasing advantages, and the opportunity to exchange opinions and experiences with members from other countries on issues affecting the future of their industry. Individual pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers are able to benefit from tailor-made solutions across Europe.
“At PHOENIX, independent pharmacists have a voice. This is why we established an Advisory Board to determine areas of focus. We collaborate openly and transparently”, said Sara Zucca, a pharmacist from Milan. She is one of the twelve members of the PHOENIX Pharmacy Partnership’s European Advisory Board. Over the past year, the network’s agenda has covered the expansion of loyalty programmes, category management, and digital marketing in the member programmes.
Positive signals emerged from the conference: participants stressed the need to continue developing their businesses – including through the use of digital opportunities. They want to work together to confront the increasingly tough competition, exchange knowledge, and drive forward innovations for their business and patients.