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PharmacyForum: Back in person for 2024

C+D spoke with Emma Faure, founder of OpenRoom, the event company behind PharmacyForum, to find out about what the event has in store this year.

For the first time since COVID-19 hit in 2019, PharmacyForum is back in person this year, and will be hosting community pharmacy execs away from the distractions of the office in Sitges, Spain.

The event mixes learning, peer-to-peer discussions, one-to-one discovery meetings with suppliers, as well as hours of informal networking and panel discussions. “It’s a really powerful combination where industry issues are discussed, and business is done,” said OpenRoom founder Emma Faure.  

The event has had a break since COVID-19 and in those four years there have been some significant changes in the market, including M&A activity, larely fulled by Lloydspharmacy leaving the high street.

Ms Faure tells C+D that the event organisers are working closely with Christie & Co to identify some of the new “mini multiples” in the market.  “A small operator with three sites three years ago may now have seven or nine sites today, so the perfect size for the event,” she said.

Organisers are focused on supplier companies attending that provide solutions to drive operational efficiency, save costs, and grow revenue channels such as robotics, automation and software.  The typical attendees on the pharmacy side are managing director level, head of operations or owner depending on the size of the group. “The conversations are very much about business and growth,” said Ms Faure.

Industry discussion


This year, the headline panels that open the meeting will be looking at the future of pharmacy and there is a lot to talk about. “While there are concerns around funding and pharmacy closures there are some exciting opportunities presenting themselves,” said Ms Faure. 

“Three months into 2024, we’ll look at how pharmacy groups are dealing with the Pharmacy First initiative, we’ll be hosting discussions on the automated 'hub and spoke' dispensing model, challenges around recruitment and retention, and the status of funding,” she explained. 

The event organisers are working with industry experts including conference chair Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) and C+D’s clinical editor Nana Ofori-Atta, to make sure the sessions are current and reflect the industry at present. Christie and Co will also give an update on the current ownership landscape.

Pharmacy First will certainly be a hot topic in Sitges this April. “From the conversations we’ve had, it seems that pharmacy groups are ready to embrace the opportunities presented by Pharmacy First but there are concerns around funding and the time it will take to see any financial rewards,” said Ms Faure.  


PharmacyForum will take place on 22-23 April. For more information please visit OpenRoom.


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