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Cerm: inefficient supply chain, more deregulation is needed

To increase the efficiency of the supply chain, the interventions that the Maneuver imparts regarding drugs and pharmacies should be completely rewritten. This is supported by Cerm, to which Federfarma Servizi replies by inviting a comparison scheduled for September
If the goal is to generate savings on pharmaceutical spending by the NHS, instead of cutting the 3.65% on the margin of wholesalers, a reform of the distribution chain that would dissolve inefficiencies and structural problems would bear greater fruit. This is at least suggested by the Cerm, according to which the interventions that the Maneuver imparts in the field of drugs and pharmacies should be completely rewritten. To target the rules which, according to the experts of the economic research center, freeze the pharmacy market, make intermediate distribution "inefficient" and prevent the development of competitive dynamics in the channel: the organic plant, exclusive ownership, remuneration based on the margin and again the bans on the formation of chains and on the entry of joint-stock companies into the ownership of pharmacies. It is not the first time that Cerm has invoked the deregulation of the distribution chain, but it is undeniable that in a delicate moment like the present, the considerations of its researchers leave their mark. «With purchasing power parity and on the same defined dose of drug» Nicola Salerno, economist of the research institute explains to Farmacista33 «Italian owners enjoy twice as much revenue as their British colleagues. Triggering horizontal and vertical integrations in distribution, aimed at reducing the number of wholesalers and allowing the development of Boot's-type brands, means triggering competition and economies of scale which would increase the efficiency of the supply chain». For Salerno, the pharmacists' complaints about the erosion of marginality do not hold up. «The pharmacy remains a highly profitable activity, also due to the position income that derives from the organic plant. Is there a meager revenue coming from the SSN recipe? I have some doubts, but even if it were, it just means that the time has come for pharmacies to act on the cost lever: economies of scale and integrations between the distribution segments are precisely for this».

Among the first to dislike Cerm's intervention is Federfarma Servizi, which in a letter addressed to the study center and signed by its general manager, Giancarlo Esperti, recalls how the Italian distribution system is considered among the best in Europe. «Then I would like to know» reads the letter «what would be the inefficiencies referred to». Salerno doesn't hold back: "The fact that with the practice of the extra discount, the pharmacies had already illegally appropriated more than 50% of the wholesaler's margin on range A products says a lot about the spaces existing for a rationalization of the supply chain". The question and answer could continue: Federfarma Servizi and Cerm are, in fact, working to organize a meeting in September in which to continue the discussion.

Pharmacist33 – 29 July 2010 – Year 6, Number 140

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco