Boots chief's vow to Nottingham students
ONE of the most senior figures in Alliance Boots has told the chemists of the future that the firm is strongly committed to the profession.
Ornella Barra, wholesale and commercial affairs director of the company, delivered the pledge in her first speech as Special Professor at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham.
Ms Barra, who joined the main board of Boots after its initial tie-up with Alliance Unichem, told students the changing nature of pharmacy meant there was a clear need for entrepreneurs in the industry.
She said the landscape of the retail pharmacy industry was being affected by deregulation, supermarket and online competition and the demands of patients for more knowledge of and more control over their healthcare.
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This meant pharmacists needed to be proactive managers who could communicate and advise patients.
She said: "On behalf of Alliance Boots, I would like to reaffirm the strength and sincerity of our support for you.
"We share the same values and above all we have the same vision of healthcare and its future. You can be assured of our unfailing support.
"On your side, always bear in mind the need to combine individual qualities such as entrepreneurship, energy, flair and commitment, with more collective values such as a concern for others, participation in the life of the profession and the notion of working as part of a group.
"Do not be afraid of change. On the contrary, approach things in an open and proactive spirit. We are with you. This is our commitment, and indeed the reason for my presence here today." Ms Barra also flagged up "radical changes" in pharmaceutical wholesaling – a key part of the Alliance Boots business – which were likely to have a significant impact on the industry in the future.
These included more generic drugs and a growing specialty market, along with new distribution channels.
Alliance Boots, she said, was playing a dynamic role in the development of this market through its role with the European Pharmacists Forum, its relationships with the University of Nottingham and the Tor Vergata university in Rome and its partnerships with European independent pharmacy network Alphega.
After the lecture, Ms Barra told the Post: "I am delighted to have given my first guest lecture. At Alliance Boots our aim is to strengthen the links between ourselves and universities in the UK as well as in other European countries.
"As a qualified pharmacist and a Special Professor of Nottingham University's School of Pharmacy, I recognise the importance of pharmacy education and am proud to be a part of it.
"During my lecture I reiterated the commitment of Alliance Boots to the pharmacy profession and I hope many of the students I met will work for Alliance Boots in the future, either for our Boots UK business or perhaps as a customer of Alliance Healthcare (our wholesale business) as a future independent pharmacist."