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Legal and organisational innovation in the Italian pharmacy system: commercial vs public interest

  • Alceste Santuari (a1)

Abstract

Pharmacy services are undoubtedly an important part of primary care. Pharmacists are entrepreneurs and simultaneously they are entrusted with a public mission in the health care sector. Pharmacies then reflect a contrast between a commercial/economic objective and public interest, which is to be identified with citizens’ universal right to health care services. This is the reason why in Italy, as in many other EU countries, pharmacies supply their services according to a prior authorisation granted by public authorities. In common with many EU countries, this authorisation is secured according to a demographic criterion. It is only by means of these licensed pharmacies that citizens can buy drugs under medical prescription. Accordingly, the health system is to be driven by public interest, which has yet to prove how competing interests may be regulated in serving health needs. In the light of EU law, the article advocates for an innovative legal and organisational tool whereby to organise the Italian pharmacy system in order to combine economic consideration and public benefit.

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Corresponding author

*Correspondence to: Alceste Santuari, University of Bologna, Piazza Scaravilli, 1 40126 Bologna, Italy. Email: alceste.santuari@unibo.it

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Legal and organisational innovation in the Italian pharmacy system: commercial vs public interest

  • Alceste Santuari (a1)

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