E-drug: Siting policies pharmacies (cont'd)
In Italy there are regulations on the siting of pharmacies: the
number of pharmacies and the area where they can be opened
are decided by local health authorities (regions). They issue and
revise a map (Pianta Organica) every 2 years which represents a
referral for the establishment of new pharmacies.
The map has to show:
- the number of inhabitants living in the commune,
- the number of pharmacies the commune should have,
- the area in which the pharmacies should be placed,
- the number of pharmacies already existent.
The criteria on which the law is based are:
-DEMOGRAPHIC criteria: it is based on the pharmacy/inhabitants
ratio and is prevalently chosen for urban pharmacies. In a
commune with less than 12500 inhabitants there should be 1
pharmacy every 5000 inhabitants, in a commune with more than
12500 inhabitants there should be 1 pharmacy every 4000
-TOPOGRAPHIC criteria: it considers the distribution of the
population on the territory and is prevalently chosen for rural
-URBAN criteria: it is adopted in urban areas where there has
been an important change in the viability, location of the
houses and of the population without a concomitant increase of
The main criteria is the demographic one and the adoption of
the others has to be motivated. The distance between two
pharmacies should not be less than 200 metres measured from
door to door following the shortest pedestrian path.
Pharmacies can be defined as "urban" or "rural", depending on
the place where they are located and the number of inhabitants.
Pharmacies placed in districts with more than 5000 inhabitants
are "urban", otherwise they are "rural". Rural pharmacies in
areas with less than 3000 inhabitants receive subsidies by the
region, the commune and the pharmacists of urban areas. They
are also exempt from paying for the premises and receive
certain economic benefits as an incentive.
Pharmacies in Italy are either private or public. Private
pharmacies are owned by a pharmacist who must also be the
manager, or by a partnership. The latter requires that each
partner be a pharmacist and that the management of the
pharmacy be assigned to one of the partners. It is not possible
for a pharmacist to own and run more than one pharmacy.
Public pharmacies are owned by the commune , which is
represented by the mayor, and their management is assigned to
a pharmacist. Public pharmacies appear on the "Pianta
Organica" and, every 2 years, when the map is revised, the
commune has the right to pre-emption. It means that 50% of
new and vacant pharmacies will become public pharmacies.
The law is constantly under revision and some of the points
mentioned may have changed.
Alessandra Corsetti, Maurizio Bonati.
Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri"
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