In Finland pharmacies sell over 70 % of all medicines (Pharma Industry Finland 2018), prescription-only medicines accounting for 87 % and self-care medicines 13 % of their total sales. In addition to retail distribution of medicines, pharmacies have an important role in advising, guiding and supporting patients on the correct use of the products. There are over 800 pharmacies in Finland, including subsidiary pharmacies and the pharmacies of the Helsinki and Kuopio Universities.
Pharmacy personnel connect and meet patients with regular medication more frequently than other healthcare providers. Thus, pharmacies have in a current digitalization era, a potential of becoming significant provider of e.g. patient reported outcome (PRO) information of experienced adverse events. This type of progress would demand integrated platform solutions, where different health care professionals would have access to patient data.
Nowadays, pharmacies also provide many health promoting services to their customers, like blood pressure, blood sugar, hemoglobin and cholesterol measurements and related lifestyle advising. Alongside medicines, pharmacies also have a wide selection of other products like medical devices, diagnostic tests and dietary supplements. One new paradigm is consumer oriented genetic tests that have landed to many pharmacy shelves also in Finland.
In the following video Qualified Chemist Kirsi Kettunen from the Kontula pharmacy tells shortly how she sees pharmacies’ role in patient care today and what future roles pharmacies may have.