The Suzuken group strives to strengthen cooperation with facilities such as medical institutions and welfare facilities for the elderly by developing our insurance pharmacy business into one which offers high quality service. We are dedicated to "creating communities where everyone can be healthy" while placing high priority on business improvement and educational support for regional insurance pharmacies.
The Suzuken Group is working to build a platform that includes pharmacies as a key element, and we contribute to local communities by drawing on strengthened existing pharmacy functions and on new functions derived through collaborations.
At a time when it is necessary for pharmacies to not only fill prescriptions covered by the insurance system but also contribute more broadly to their communities, we aim to make all of our pharmacies into family pharmacies staffed with family pharmacists. We are committed to strengthening their abilities to perform healthcare functions including the provision of patient-oriented services, helping patients remain healthy, and encouraging patients to be examined by a physician when necessary.
In addition, based on our vision of pharmacies as key elements of comprehensive community care systems, we will begin to offer services that reduce the burden on in-home medical- or long-term-care patients, and their families, and allow them to live with a greatersense of safety and peace of mind. Among other functions, this system will support medical and long-term care professionals with “last mile” distribution to the patient’s home.
Expansion and fundamental strengthening of the Group’s Pharmacy Business
The Suzuken Group has been adding pharmacies through M&A and new openings, and closing pharmacies that have been insufficiently profitable. As of March 31, 2021, the Group was operating 592 pharmacies throughout Japan.
As the scale of our pharmacy business grows, we are working to strengthen Group pharmacy governance through steps such as unifying systems across all Group pharmacies, standardizing back-office functions, and moving forward with a Group restructuring. We are also striving to increase the number of prescriptions handled by individual pharmacists and improve productivity in other ways as well, by, for example, revising the day-to-day work performed by pharmacists and introducing devices to aid compounding. Furthermore, we are working to lower pharmaceutical disposal losses and reduce social costs by using an inventory management system to control inventories of slow-moving products and implementing the Cubixx (pharmacy version) traceability system, the Suzuken Group is promoting.
Going forward, we will continue to build our Group brand recognition for safe, reliable pharmacies through business expansion and productivity improvement based on fundamental business strengthening.
Building a community support platform
Pharmacies are expected to become key elements of local communities as “family pharmacies”*1 and to function as “health
The Suzuken Group intends for all of its pharmacies to be “family pharmacies” staffed with “family pharmacists.” As healthcare professionals, and important, locally oriented sources of health information, our pharmacists are being prepared to perform various functions, such as enhanced follow-up to monitor customers once they begin to use prescribed medicines and augmentation of medication instruction content.
The Suzuken Group’s “health support pharmacies” provide advice regarding medications, hold health-related events, and engage in other activities as well to promote the health of local residents. In April 2020, we began to open pharmacies featuring Certified Nutrition Care Stations, which are being promoted by the Japan Dietetic Association. These facilities serve as locations from which registered dietitians draw on their specialized knowledge to provide nutritional advice to medical institutions, local governments, and others.
- ※1Family pharmacy: Pharmacy that performs these functions: unified and continuous monitoring of medication adherence; 24-hour in-home service; and collaboration with medical institutions.
- ※2Health support pharmacy: In addition to the family pharmacist/pharmacy functions, these pharmacies play a leading role in actively supporting health retention/improvement.
Enhancing functions for implementing community-based healthcare collaboration
As a key element of comprehensive community care systems, pharmacies perform last-mile distribution in support of healthcare professionals and long-term care providers. In addition, by contributing to the systems that reduce burdens on home healthcare/nursing care patients and their families, they also help patients to continue living in their communities safely and with a sense of security.
Based on the community-based healthcare concepts of individual local governments, we are increasing points of contact with the Japan Medical Association, Japan Pharmaceutical Association, and physicians, care managers, and others engaged in in-home medical care. We are also working to increase our participation in local cross-profession networking venues while partnering with the Suzuken Group’s pharmaceutical wholesaling and nursing care businesses. In regard to networking, we are promoting the use of Medical Care Station (MCS), an SNS operated by Group member Embrace Co., Ltd. for medical and long-term care professionals.
To serve the needs of cancer and other terminal-stage patients receiving treatment at home, we are implementing community-based healthcare collaboration by, for example, opening pharmacies with sterile drug preparation rooms, which are necessary for preparing infusion solutions and other injection agents, and opening pharmacies that are equipped to serve in-home care needs and include in-home care support offices.
Currently, approximately 400 pharmacies have implemented online medication instruction systems. With further enhancements of the online capabilities of our pharmacies, we will introduce electronic prescriptions, offer home delivery of prescription medicines, and provide other services that offer patients even greater convenience.