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9 October 2009
 
European Pharmacists Forum comes to London
 
The third European Pharmacists Forum (EPF) seminar of 2009 has today concluded in London, bringing together independent pharmacists from across Europe to discuss key issues affecting pharmacy and share ideas.
 
This event, which took place on 8 and 9 October 2009, focussed on the UK market, with day one exploring the continued challenges faced by UK pharmacy and how it can capitalise on opportunities for increasing its role in the provision of primary care. Jeremy Main, Managing Director of Alliance Healthcare (Distribution), and Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, each presented delegates with an overview of the UK market. Jeremy outlined that while the UK market is consolidating, independent pharmacy continues to represent a highly significant part of the sector. He commented: "It certainly is a challenging time for the UK market, and over the last five years there has been some huge change. However, independent pharmacy has a real opportunity to be at the heart of primary care and there still many opportunities to work in partnership with other healthcare professionals, the Government, industry and of course patients."
 
Peter Gibson, Director of Public Policy, Alliance Boots, gave an overview of some of the current pharmacy policy initiatives and changes taking place across the EU, and Ornella Barra, Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division, Alliance Boots, updated delegates with latest news from the Group. In particular she highlighted Alliance Boots' continued efforts to strengthen its partnerships with independent pharmacists, outlining initiatives such as the Alphega Pharmacy network and continued product development initiatives, such as the growth of the Almus generics and over the counter ranges in the UK and the launch of Serum 7 anti-ageing range in France. Ornella commented: "Alliance Boots places a high value on the partnerships we have with both independent pharmacists and manufacturers. There are many benefits to be gained from working in partnership and I believe that working together in this way and showing entrepreneurial spirit will generate benefits for each of us."
 
The second day of the seminar focussed on a series of workshops looking at three key areas of pharmacy development: Pharmacy Business, Pharmacy Partnerships and Pharmacy Profession. The three workshops were chaired by independent pharmacists Martin Favie (the Netherlands), Mike Smith (UK) and Philippe Gaertner (France) 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.