G. Primary User-Owned Coop Pharmacies

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  REVIEW OF NATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN PROMOTING AND SUPPORTING
   THE CONTRIBUTION OF CO-OPERATIVES TO SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
 
  CO-OPERATIVE ENTERPRISE IN THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE SECTORS
      A GLOBAL REVIEW AND PROPOSALS FOR POLICY COORDINATION
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CHAPTER II.

G.  PRIMARY LEVEL USER-OWNED CO-OPERATIVE PHARMACIES [TYPE 1.3.1]

In Europe in 1994 there were 2,500 co-operative pharmacies
operating at the primary level.  They served 30 million members,
and had a market share of about 10 per cent.  This type of
primary co-operative in the health sector exists to a substantial
extent only in a few countries, notably in Belgium.  Members of
the European Union of Social Pharmacies include not only co-
operatives but other types of organization within the "social
economy" such as mutual associations.  Members operated in
Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the
United Kingdom.  Similar types of organization existed in Finland
and Ireland.  Co-operative ("social") pharmacies supplied drugs
and equipment not in isolation, but within the context of a broad
health service approach which included advice, follow-up,
background information and preventive measures.  They sought the
efficient and rational use of medicines.71/  

With assistance from the Belgian tertiary organization, prototype
primary co-operative pharmacies have been set up in the Czech
Republic.72/  In January 1996 10 co-operative pharmacies had
already been set up. They had a very high standard of equipment
and distributed a wide variety of drugs to their members.  The
establishment of two further co-operative pharmacies was being
prepared. 73/ 

In Haiti the International Labour Organization, as part of its
programme of support for co-operative development, is encouraging
the organization by co-operatives of community pharmacies.74/ 

In Germany there were two pharmacy co-operatives in operation
during the period 1990 - 1994 (there had been three in 1980 and
five in 1970).  Their turnover (umsatz) was 4,021 million DM in
1994. 75/   
 
In Niger the International Labour Organization, as part of its
programme of support for food security, is encouraging the
establishment of ten village pharmacies managed by local co-
operatives.
76/.

In Singapore a chain of what might be described as primary level
co-operative pharmacies have been set up within the co-operative
supermarkets promoted by the National Trade Union Congress. 
Membership of these co-operatives consists of all members of the
unions within the Congress.77/

It should be borne in mind that many health co-operatives provide
their own pharmacy services for members, seeking to provide
affordable and appropriate medicine and equipment.  For example,
in Brazil the user-owned Usimed co-operatives set up in 1993
already operated a chain of pharmacies in mid-1995.78/