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13 October 2010


European Pharmacists meet in Edinburgh

Independent pharmacists from across Europe gathered in Edinburgh this week for the European Pharmacists Forum's (EPF) third seminar of 2010. The seminar, which was held at the Balmoral Hotel in the heart of Edinburgh, brought together EPF members from eight countries to share their experiences and address the major issues affecting pharmacy.

The two-day event began with a focus on its host country, Scotland, and its own distinctive healthcare model, with presentations from Frank Owens, EPF Vice-President, and Bill Scott, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland. They were joined by Gul Root, Principal Pharmacist at the UK Department of Health who addressed delegates on the future of Pharmacy public health practice.

The focus moved to the international arena with the next speaker, Alan Payne, CEO and Founder of Healthsolve Ltd, who reviewed the main trends in online healthcare. Tim Stacey, Director of Health and Services Solutions at Boots UK, then provided a retail and consumer perspective on the online healthcare market.

Tricia Kennerley, Healthcare Public Affairs Director at Alliance Boots, spoke to delegates about the evolution of remuneration models for pharmacists – from 'Fee per item' to 'Patient management fee'. "Pharmacy service provision must be linked to government needs - which can be met by pharmacy", she said, before outlining how successful pharmacists will develop their service offering in areas such as medicines management, public health, disease prevention and early diagnosis.

The first day concluded with an update on Alliance Boots' business activities from Ornella Barra, Chief Executive of the Group's Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division. Ornella, recently named as one of Fortune magazine's "50 most powerful international women in business", began her career as a community pharmacist and is the founder of EPF. She told members: "Partnership with independent pharmacies remains one of the central pillars of Alliance Healthcare... In such difficult times, it is only by working in partnership that we can be stronger together and create added value."

On the second day of the seminar EPF members came to the fore, with Working Groups presenting their findings in three main areas: Pharmacy Partnerships, Pharmacy Profession and Pharmacy Profession. The three workshops were chaired by independent pharmacists Mike Smith (UK), Philippe Gaertner (France) and Martin Favie (the Netherlands) respectively.

The EPF is sponsored by Alliance Boots and was established in 1999. Its main aims are to support a European and united approach to the profession, to bring together pharmacists to discuss new ideas and share key messages, as well as to facilitate positive dialogue with public authorities and manufacturers. Alliance Boots' sponsorship of the Forum highlights its commitment to independent pharmacists and its desire to be seen as a key partner all over the world. The EPF takes place four times a year and has members from eight countries: UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Switzerland.