The European Pharmacists Forum is sponsored by Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.
While pharmacists value their independence, having a collective voice at a European level is increasingly important. The European Pharmacists Forum recognises the shared healthcare needs that exist across Europe and the many challenges now facing the pharmacy profession. All members are independent pharmacists who are active in the profession, at the forefront of modern pharmacy practice in their respective countries and across Europe. The membership of the EPF represents ten European countries.
Since its creation, the EPF has actively promoted the pharmacy profession as an essential provider of healthcare across Europe. The healthcare market is evolving rapidly and community pharmacy is facing a time of accelerated change and development. The profession has many challenges to overcome, but there are also considerable opportunities to be seized… The mission of the EPF is to support the profession and make the most of these opportunities across Europe.
The new appointed President of the EPF is Paulo Duarte, pharmacist by profession and also President of ANF.
Ornella Barra (Co-Chief Operating Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance) is responsible for relations between the EPF and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Through its focus on the pharmacy profession and working in partnership with all stakeholders, the EPF helps shape community pharmacy strategy across Europe. Fellow pharmacists are able to share views and expertise for the benefit of community pharmacy as a whole. Through the development of best practice with its members, the EPF helps community pharmacy to:
• Focus on patients and individual healthcare needs
• Promote the benefits of community pharmacy to policy makers, payors and patients
• Develop and deliver new community pharmacy-led healthcare services to benefit patients
• Demonstrate the benefits to health from better medicines usage
• Work closely with doctors and GPs to build excellent local relationships
The environment facing pharmacy today
Across Europe, the healthcare market is changing. Costs are rising, populations are ageing and people's expectations of healthcare are increasing. Citizens want faster treatment, better healthcare, improved services and more information to help them live healthy lives.
At the same time, governments want to drive down costs, deliver excellence and innovative healthcare for their population, balanced with efficient and effective care that gives value for money. In particular, drug cost-containment policies (especially in relation to generic medicines) are being implemented.
Additionally, moves towards deregulation will challenge many independent community pharmacies across Europe, along with supermarkets, online, and direct-to-patient channels extending their reach to new markets and customers.
Opportunities for community pharmacy
Community pharmacy is ideally placed to take advantage of new opportunities as governments work towards models of seamless healthcare provision where manufacturers, doctors and pharmacists play a more integrated role, providing a 'one-stop' healthcare service for the benefit of patients.
Pharmacists are already acquiring new professional skills, developing flexibility and are adapting their pharmacies to meet local healthcare needs and priorities. Across Europe, pharmacists now have the chance to take on a leading primary healthcare role in local communities, delivering new healthcare services to their customers and patients.