The old relationship between pharmacists and laboratories is changing under the effect of new missions and new demands for transparency.
In this changing context, the bases of less strictly commercial and more collaborative relationships are outlined.
The perception that players in the pharmacist's health system have been modified today.
Pharmacist is not only a distributor of health products but a healthcare professional in the first line. However, in this period of changes, laboratories are expecting more from the pharmacists and this perception is evolving as the pharmacists become involved in patient communication and advice.
Laboratories are, for their part, jostled by changing legislation framing their links with healthcare professionals.
"We are very regulated, it is not necessarily easy for us to support pharmacies".
Doctors and patients must be protected from the influence of industry.
But someone has to chat with them.
It’s the pharmacist’s job to be the link between the drug chain and the healthcare system.
An avalanche of service proposals
In this context, laboratories wants to approach pharmacists.
“We want to make this actor of first resort a partner for health.
We want to innovate, in the transparency”.
The networks of medical representatives delegated to the pharmacy, work to inform the pharmacy teams.
But in addition, they also offer personalized support which consists, among other things, of e-learning training in pharmaceutical interviews on asthma or diabetes…
Other labs work on screening, prevention, accident prevention linked to iatrogenicity or even kits distributed to patients to properly store their medication.
Another example: e-learning training in the analysis of patient attitudes towards generics, in order to prevent refusals to substitute, or even "the doctor-pharmacist connection".
In addition, they teach management techniques in partnership with a business school, so that the pharmacist plays his new role, as a business manager.
E-learning training on new services is expected to develop, especially for pharmacists working in rural areas.
The pharmacist must be "more proactive".
He regularly calls on laboratories for specific training to meet his specific needs:
The proper use of the product, the staging of the point of sale, and even management.
The idea of a more balanced partnership is also gaining ground in networking groups, with particularly tenuous links with industry.
Thus the laboratory adopts "an ethical positioning" and strengthens its partnership with the group.
The competence of laboratories and their knowledge of pathologies, is essential to develop the profession.
Between the wish for pharmacists to be independent and the need for laboratory expertise, the ties of interest between these two inseparable partners are subject to interpretation.
For the moment, laboratory support is limited:
Compliance training or pharmaceutical interviews and information brochures for patients. Similarly, the digital services offered by laboratories for patients - information sites on pathologies and mobile applications - seem insufficient for pharmacists.
APPROACHING THE PHARMACISTS
The role of pharmacists in the distribution of drugs continues to grow (generics, expensive drugs, products following a wave of de-reimbursements to turn to the OTC).
This ramp-up is today a major factor in the development of pharmaceutical laboratory practices.
It involves switching part of their promotional and commercial effort to pharmacies and, for an increasing number, the use of direct sales.
The lever of direct selling
One of the means of defending an “attacked” product, goes through attractive commercial conditions that are more attractive than those offered by the wholesaler.
The offer is made on a portfolio which includes attacked molecules but also on other products, so that the pharmacist feels considered a true partner and not only solicited on products for which we need him.
In addition, ad hoc training is developing in all areas.
An increasing number of training courses are being set up via a wholesaler or a networking group.
The outflow of expensive drugs from the hospital reserve, prompted ethical laboratories to invest in training.
Pharmacists are in demand in this area.
They count first on the industry for information on pharmacology (side effects and drug interactions), the advice to be given to patients during their deliveries and the pathologies concerned.
Much remains to be done and everything is far from perfect.
Some ethical laboratories are unfortunately discovering the existence of the pharmacy, which they consider as a simple distribution channel.
They still see their promotion only through the prescribing doctor.