I’m in northern Italy on business this week. Nice place. Have eaten some great meals with nice views of Verona one night and Garda Lake the next. Going to Carmen tonight at the Arena, which should be fun.
I asked my host about pharmacy practices here. Fairly different from the US from what he tells me. Until this month, pharmacies had a monopoly on sales of OTC products, like aspirin. Prices were high and access limited. After a big fight, supermarkets will be allowed to sell these products but only if they have a pharmacist on duty. Once pharmacies realized they were going to lose their monopoly, they decided to oppose the requirement of having a pharmacist at the supermarket, figuring the next step would be to let the supermarkets sell Rxs. The government assured the pharmacies that supermarkets well never be allowed to do that, but it’s a promise made to be broken.
Meanwhile margins are so high on OTCs that supermarkets can easily justify the cost of hiring a do-nothing pharmacist.August 10, 2006