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4 December 2009
10th anniversary of the European Pharmacists Forum:
a decade of supporting independent pharmacists across Europe
The final European Pharmacists Forum (EPF) seminar of 2009 has today concluded in Florence, marking ten years since the EPF was first established in 1999. To recognise this occasion which took place on 3 and 4 December, EPF members reflected on the progress that has been made in the years since it began its work.
Since its launch ten years ago, the EPF has become a unique platform for sharing best practice and discussing strategic issues relating to pharmacy across Europe. The EPF has also benefitted independent pharmacists by encouraging a wider understanding of the activities and challenges faced by each of the respective European markets represented, while it has also become a respected platform for discussion with other healthcare stakeholders, such as manufacturers and government or regulatory bodies.
Today the EPF is well established with eight countries now represented and benefits from increasing recognition by pharmacists across Europe; through its seminars held in different European locations each quarter, the EPF website and EPF quarterly newsletter, which is distributed to independent pharmacists across the continent.
Mike Smith, a British independent pharmacist and Chairman of Alliance Healthcare in the UK, was the first EPF President and continues to be actively involved with the EPF today. He says: "Since I first became involved in the EPF ten years ago, it has exceeded its initial objective of bringing pharmacists across Europe closer together. I very much believe that the EPF has strengthened the position of independent pharmacy across Europe." Subsequent presidents of the EPF were Jean Martineau (2002-2005), French independent pharmacist, and Elvire Kuyck (2005-2008), Dutch independent pharmacist.
Today's President of the EPF is Joao Silveira, a Portuguese pharmacist and the owner of Farmacia Suissa. Joao is also Vice-President of the Portuguese national association of pharmacies (Associaçao Nacional das Farmácias - ANF) and has been a member of the European Pharmacists Forum for a number of years. He believes that the EPF still has an important role to play in supporting independent pharmacists, saying: "Today there are challenges in many European markets, but the position of pharmacy is strengthening. Whilst each of our countries have experienced many market changes I'm personally convinced that the EPF's contribution has been extremely important in understanding how our world is changing, and it will continue to benefit us in the future."
Ornella Barra, Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division, Alliance Boots, commented on the Group's continued vision for the EPF and said: "Over the last ten years Alliance Boots' continued sponsorship of the EPF has highlighted its commitment to independent pharmacists and its desire to be seen by the healthcare sector in Europe as a key partner. We remain highly committed to the EPF today and I am confident that it will continue to grow in strength for many years to come."