D10 - The renaissance of community pharmacy: Is it time to let go dispensing?


Organised by the FIP Community Pharmacy Section in collaboration with FIP’s Young Pharmacists Group


Lars-Åke Söderlund (Apoteket AB, Sweden) and Warren Meek (C7 Consulting Limited, Canada)


In almost all parts of the world pharmacists are looking forward to, and work for, the expansion of their professional role, for example, by optimising the use of medicines. Healthcare systems are also realising, more and more, that pharmacy and pharmacists actually can contribute to better outcomes, and a sustainable healthcare model. A number of clinical and evidence-based services have been developed by community pharmacy in order to help patients to acquire a life in health.

Is the core role of the pharmacy of the future to dispense medicines? And is an evolution of pharmacy practice the way to go forward, or is a revolution needed? And what kind of revolution is needed?

Today, a range of systems and technologies are available to support the medicines supply and use processes. However, pharmacists will need to ensure that they harness technologies in a way that will support their professional aspirations and that they are not bypassed by the IT initiatives being applied in the development of our healthcare systems. This development is driven not only by our healthcare systems, but by new providers and actors on the market, as well as by the customers themselves. Will the pharmacist of the future be less involved in dispensing? Should we as pharmacists focus more on the patient, and less on the medicine? And where is the future? With the pharmacist or at the pharmacy?

Several strong trends are present in today’s pharmacy market, like:

  • Consumers are becoming more technology-enabled;
  • Healthcare will be built around the technology-enabled patient in a new healthcare eco-system;
  • New technology-assisted interventions will start to replace compounded medicines;
  • New niche actors entering the market of pharmacy.

Technology is everything

In any profession, the exploration of new roles must always be welcome. But is exploration of a role enough, or are new roles needed for pharmacy? Of course, pharmacy and pharmacists have always developed services in response to new and changing customer demands as well as changes in technology, from the introduction of computers to new, more advanced and complex medicines. The pharmacy profession should now ask how pharmacies should evolve. As the development of technology is exponential, how can community pharmacy be transformed to a technology-hub, prepared for the future? Or, can and will technology replace community pharmacy?

The profession of pharmacy is thus at a significant crossroads between its conventional drug-dispensing identity and a pioneering clinical role with healthcare provider status.

Society’s use of technology continues to increase and technology is becoming more accessible and sophisticated; digital health is here to stay. Pharmacy examples include automation that can fill prescriptions and apps that provide drug information.

How will pharmacy practice evolve to meet the needs of the 21st century healthcare system? That is up to us, and if we don’t take measures to define it in our own terms, somebody may define it for us. This session will discuss the necessary development of community pharmacy, and how to design the technology-hub for the future healthcare system.


  1. The renaissance of community pharmacy
    Darrin Baines (Bournemouth University, UK)
  1. The key steps for renaissance of community pharmacy: Debate
    Darrin Baines (Bournemouth University, UK)
    Brendan Murray (FIP YPG, Ireland)
    Paul Sinclair (FIP CPS, Australia)
    Eeva Teräsalmi (FIP, Finland)
    Dominique Jordan (FIP, Switzerland)

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify why community pharmacy needs to shift its focus from medicines dispensing to health promotion and disease prevention;
  2. Identify the needs behind transforming the community pharmacy workforce and to redesign pharmacy practice;
  3. Describe methods of further incorporating community pharmacists into society and network the pharmacy hub into a wider healthcare community;
  4. Outline the role of technology as an aid to advance the roles of community pharmacists and improve direct patient care.

Type of session: Knowledge-based