Impact of regulation of Community Pharmacies on efficiency, access and equity. Evidence from the UK and Spain
In this paper, we focus on regulatory restrictions on Community Pharmacies and whether these have an impact on efficiency, access and equity and thus in the delivery of services community pharmacists provide to patients. Primary data collection through semi-structured interviews and secondary data collection through literature review have been used with a particular focus on Spain (a country where Community Pharmacy is strictly regulated) and the UK (a country where Community Pharmacy is considered liberalised by EU standards). The findings indicate that improved pharmacy operational efficiency is the result of appropriate incentive structures, ownership liberalisation and OTC price freedom as is the case in the UK. Equity and access seem to be better achieved by establishing geographic, demographic or needs-based criteria to open new pharmacies (as is the case in Spain). In sum, there are useful lessons for both countries: the UK could look into the policies applied in Spain that increase access and equity whilst Spain could adopt some of the policies from the UK to increase efficiency in the system.
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