"With a closer cooperation between pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry, and wholesalers, we can create greater value for patient care than any of us alone," said Frank Große-Natrop, Executive Board Member PHOENIX group at the opening of the second PHOENIX Pharmacy Partnership European Conference. The network of cooperation programmes with over 10,500 independent pharmacies from 16 countries is the largest of its kind in Europe. The three-day conference in Amsterdam, attended by more than 300 participants, focused on concrete solutions for the healthcare and pharmacy market, which is undergoing major changes as a result of new competitors and advancing digitalisation.
Matching the conference’ slogan "Setting sail for the future", circumnavigator Dee Caffari was motivating the pharmacists: "Everyone in the team should take on the role in which he is strongest. If these strengths are combined, adverse conditions can be mastered successfully." The guest speaker was the first woman to have sailed around the world single-handed in both directions. "The strength of the community pharmacy is that in times of e-commerce it is offering customers the best of both the off- and online world", said Große-Natrop. PHOENIX will support pharmacists on their way into the future with an Omni-Channel solution, for example with an online platform.
The pharmacy will remain the hub for healthcare: easily accessible for patients and customers, locally well connected, and an expert in health issues. "This makes it the main player in a community’s healthcare sector," continues Große-Natrop. So the focus needs to expand from drug dispensing to healthcare services. In some countries, pharmacies are already responsible for the pharmaceutical monitoring of medication adherence, tests for the detection of diabetes or Alzheimer's, as well as vaccinations. A core task of the pharmaceutical industry is to ensure efficient access to medicines, the participating industry representatives confirmed. The quality of care could further be improved through innovations, for example in the field of biosimilars.
At the conference, an optimistic atmosphere was noticeable: Participants stressed the need to change things and find ways to exploit new technologies and innovative therapeutic options. This could only be solved jointly and through exchange within the cooperation programmes.