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CO-OPERATIVE ENTERPRISES IN
• Tweede niveau
THE PHARMACY SECTOR:
• OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES
• Vierde niveau
ROMA, MARCH 30th – 31st, 2009
Route de Lennik 900
T : +32.25 299 242
F : +32.25 299 376
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF
is constituted by 15 consumer co-operatives
companies, specifically active in the intermediary
distribution (8 wholesalers, 600 pharmacies, 50 Health
Products shops) of medicines (human and animal) and
health products (medical devices, medical nutrition or
OPHACO is one of the major founding and
contributing member of the European Union of the
Social Pharmacies (EUSP) represented also in France,
Italy, Poland, Portugal, The Netherlands and
COUNTRY LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
Wholesalers, pharmacies, pharmacists are submitted to the
European regulations, transposed in the Belgian Law:
• Dir. 1985/433/EEC : mutual recognition of diplomas,
certificates, facilitatation of the effective exercise of the right
of establishment in the field of Pharmacy;
• Dir. 1985/432/EEC : Activities in the field of pharmacy;
• Dir. 2001/83/EC : Community code medicinal products.
Belgian regulations concerning :
• health practitioners and the pharmacist: Art. 4 royal decree
n° 78, royal decree 2009 01 21;
• pharmacies: royal decree 1974 09 25;
• medicines: law 2006 05 01; royal decree 2006 12 14.
Other BE regulations :
Reimbursement of health care to the patients (including
medicines and health products (law 1994 07 14 and
Transparency and the governance of companies, enterprises
and societies, co-operative or not.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SECTOR
(FACTS & FIGURES)
Medicine distribution and dispensation are the vital link
between the producers and the patients/consumers.
The actors of the medicines sector in Belgium are the
producers (400 medicines or medical devices companies or
representing producers companies), wholesalers (16
companies), Pharmacies (5.200).
80% of the medicines consumption depends
The compulsory Social protection covers 50% of
the health products market for which the
average patient level of co-payment is
about 20% of the costs.
ROLE OF THE CO-OPERATIVES IN THE SECTOR
Each consumer co-operatives member of OPHACO deals
with the medicines distribution and dispensation. The market
share covered by the members of OPHACO is about 20%.
This success is due to the fact that OPHACO members
represent an alternative to the monopoly of the stand alone
Those alternatives are based on the specific Values and
Finalities of the Co-operative entrepreneurship and of the
Social Pharmacies: Quality, efficacity, safety,
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE
CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT IN THE PHARMACY
The turnover of the medicines distribution and dispensation
depends for 50% from the reimbursable medicines.
The income of the distribution and the dispensation
represents respectively 5% and 15 % of the global turnover
As a consequence, the dispositions aimed to reduce the
public expenditure have a direct impact on the economy of
A strong point of the co-operatives is constituted by their
coordinated organization model which permits scale
economies and a global coherence of their network.
As a result, the average turnover of a co-operative
pharmacy is two time higher than the average one of
the stand alone pharmacy.
This indicates the global satisfaction of their 2.2
The competence of the pharmacies teams through
their in company continued training constitutes a major
strong point strengthening the co-operative pharmacy.
A weakness is actually constituted by the difficulties to
recruit pharmacists, a global problem of the sector.
THE MAJOR CO-OPERATIVE ENTERPRISES OF
THE COUNTRY IN THE PHARMACY SECTOR
SCRL MULTIPHARMA CVBA,
PHARMACIES POPULAIRES LIEGEOISES SCRL
CV DE VOORZORG HASSELT
CV DE VOORZORG MECHELEN
PHARMACIES POPULAIRES “ LA SAUVEGARDE ” SC
LES PHARMACIES DU PEUPLE SCRL
VZW M.S.I. ROESELARE-TIELT
VZW APOTHEKEN DE VOLKSMACHT IEPER
CV APOTHEEK IN HET ZWAARD
CV DE VOLKSMACHT TURNHOUT.
FUTURE PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES
The priorities of the Belgian co-operative Pharmacies and
Wholesalers for the next months are:
•The new system of payment of the pharmacist and the
•The traceability of the medicines from the producer to
•The new Information and Communication
technologies: electronic prescription, memories and data
The strategies remain in the expansion of the
networks to reinforce the competitive
advantage of the companies.