Technology Offers Many Opportunities for Pharmacies
STORY INLINE POST
Q: In 2017, Grupo Regional de Farmacias Productivas (Grupo RFP) mentioned that it would create an exclusive generic brand. Where does this goal stand?
A: Grupo RFP is working to promote an exclusive line of generics throughout the group that will be positioned as an alternative at our pharmacies. The group expects the generic line to become the main option for those consumers who are looking for an equivalent product at a lower price. Grupo RFP wants to offer accessible and quality alternatives to those who cannot access patented medicines and we hope that the generic line satisfies 80 percent of general medicine consumption.
Q: What collaborations does Grupo RFP have in the Mexican health sector and how do this support the pharmaceutical industry’s development?
A: Our pharmacies work in two ways: the first is counter sales to the general public and the second is through institutional sales. Grupo RFP wants to be more efficient through digital development. Traditionally, medical prescriptions are very bureaucratic and have delayed processes. We want to simplify this communication between us and our customers through a digital platform that connects all players in the value chain. Grupo RFP believes that the inclusion of technological tools in its operations can be the key to strengthening areas such as pharmacovigilance, fraud-risk reduction, better traceability of medicines and easier communication with laboratories, distributors, and suppliers. This symbolizes a very important advance for the group’s pharmacies because it opens a more competitive panorama.
Q: What impact can the inclusion of technological tools have on both Grupo RFP and the final customer?
A: Technology offers many opportunities for the industries that adopt them. For pharmacies, technology means greater control over drugs and an improvement in pharmacovigilance. The operational benefits are only one element because there are other benefits for the patient and the pharmaceutical companies. Patients can improve treatment adherence with easier access to medicine. Technology also generates anonymous information that helps pharmaceutical companies create market intelligence strategies. Technology can offer opportunities that were not possible before. Grupo RFP wants to promote a relationship between technology and pharmaceutical products by connecting all the agents in the value chain. Our platform will include a communication space between the laboratory, the distributor, the point of sale, the hospitals and the medical network until the medicine reaches the patient.
Q: What are the advantages and drawbacks of using technologies for pharmacies?
A: One of the main limitations is the existing idea that physical stores could disappear because of technology. However, at Grupo RFP, we believe that technology can generate a positive change. This change will result in greater access to quality care at more accessible prices. The transformation of pharmacies democratizes access to health.
Q: How does the patient-centric model impact pharmacies?
A: Grupo RFP is in the process of changing its business model to deal more accurately with new consumers and the emerging needs of the market. The pharmacies that make up Grupo RFP are adopting a new approach that is compatible with the patient-centric model and are leaving behind the traditional approach of only selling medicine. The group wants to invest in the professionalization of pharmacy personnel to offer differentiated services such as nutrition and dermatology. We want to transform the way patients see pharmacies.
Q: What are the three objectives that Grupo RFP wants to fulfill in 2018?
A: In 2017, Grupo RFP grew inorganically thanks to the adhesion of other chains to the group. For 2018, the group plans to consolidate and strengthen the actions it has undertaken since last year. Grupo RFP wants to build a common operational model so that all the chains and pharmacies of the group offer a high-quality and reasonably priced standardized service.
Q: In recent years, COFEPRIS has increased the rigor of pharmacovigilance. How can pharmacies be part of this initiative?
A: Digitalization can help improve drug control. The main problems with pharmacovigilance are medicine theft, the falsification of medicines and the theft of prescription drugs. Including technology in the pharmacovigilance process can increase the traceability of medicines. Through these mechanisms, pharmacies can guarantee the products that arrive to a patient’s hands are original, safe, accessible and quality medicines. Grupo RFP’s platform plans to use technology to validate prescriptions and medications and to analyze the traceability of the medications purchased by the group.