Archive for Drugstore

Il dottore, an Italian way to waste knowledge

Posted in Daily Life, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , on Jul 09, 2008 by Cicero

In Italy, every pharmacy has a quite special character: il dottore (the doctor). This is usually the business proprietary, who holds a Pharmacy degree. This guy is generally an important figure in the local society, mainly in the small cities.

You might expect it would be nice to have such a highly educated professional to help you at each pharmacy. Well, that would be the case if we were not in Italy, where nothing happens as planned.

I mean, this highly educated person, does only three not so highly complex tasks:

  • Read medical prescriptions in order to identify medicine names;
  • Look for medicine names at boxes placed in alphabetical order;
  • Receive money and give exchange;

This is a typical Italian waste of resources. It mandatory to have a Pharmacy graduated at each Pharmacy doing basic activities, no matter how much their knowledge is needed elsewhere. A clerk would be enough, perhaps with some specific training, but not a degree in Pharmacy.

And now it is clear why there is no big Italian pharmaceutical company. Italy considers more important to place Pharmacy graduated to look for names in boxes, than to use those experts to make drug research. Does it make any sense?

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Italian pharmacies: the fairy tale capitalism

Posted in Daily Life, Economics, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Jul 04, 2008 by Cicero

Pharmacies are one of the most globalized entities in the world. I mean, a drugstore always works more or less in the same way: you go there and get the medicines necessary to improve your health. Of course, there are some variations, but the overall model is like this.

As you might expect, things are a bit different in Italy. Here, although there are pharmacies, they have an old fashioned way. A number of Italian idiosyncrasies produces an atmosphere of the fifties.

First of all, the drug market is state controlled, with tabled drug prices, and no price competition among pharmacies.

Additionally, the pharmacies have the monopoly to sell drugs, even the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. That is, to get something simple as a Tylenol (which is called here Tachipirina) you have to go to a pharmacy. No chance to find it at a supermarket!

And all pharmacies are family-owned businesses. No drugstore chains and no competition, my friend. It is simply forbidden to establish a drugstore chain in Italy. Every pharmacy belongs to a family and attends to a particular region.

As a result, Italian pharmacies form a fairy tale capitalism: controlled prices, regional monopolies, family-owned businesses and no competition. That is the real Italy. An unreal country.