Carlos Sisternas

Carlos Sisternas

Director of Catalonia, Spanish Federation of Healthcare Technology Companies (FENIN),
Vincenç J. Calduch

Vincenç J. Calduch

President, Fedefarma
Collaborations between healthcare centers, public administrations, and private actors play a key role in the development of a strong healthcare sector that strives to provides better services to Spanish citizens.

How has the company evolved since it was founded?
CARLOS SISTERNAS FENIN was established in 1977 as a way to bring companies together in response to a perceived lack of representation, despite numerous problems faced by the private sector, especially payment delays, which could be as high as 400 days. Although, according to the law, payments must be made within 30 days, our actual DSO average is around 80 days. FENIN proved to be highly successful from the outset, and we enjoyed firm relations with the government. Today, we represent around 80% of the market. We also offer legal, compliance, and regulatory services, among others as initially envisaged by the original FENIN incarnation.

VINCENÇ J. CALDUCH Fedefarma was founded in 1928 by a group of pharmacists from Barcelona when pharmaceutical specialties began to be commercialized. We wanted to ensure distribution and dispensation was guaranteed to citizens through the pharmaceutical channel. Under this premise, we evolved from the distribution of medicines to the provision of services to the pharmacy. At present, we are an integral partner that develops value-added projects and transfers them to pharmacies to strengthen their sanitary role and help them become boost their profits.

Can you tell us about your collaborations?
CS We have strong relations with Catalonia Trade and Investment Agency and ICEX in Madrid. We also attend international fairs such as the Arab Health fair in Dubai and European MEDICA, among others. We rent a large space known as the Spanish corner and we bring companies together with smaller stands. We also go on trade missions globally to promote Spanish healthcare companies.

Fedefarma organizes more than 70 training activities per year for pharmacists. What do you intend to achieve with this training?
VJC These activities are in line with our goal of helping the pharmacy sector grow professionally, and, thus, provide better services to citizens. Our training program, which has been going on for more than 30 years, provides updates on new therapeutic advances and health needs. At the same time, we also have specific training programs for pharmacies as well as a management training program. Trainees have the choice of face-to-face or online training through our e-learning campus.

What are you doing to ensure that technological advancements and big data benefit the sector?
CS Technology is transforming healthcare. Digitalization has evolved, and the capabilities that we have in the digital world to improve the healthcare sector are enormous. Spain is one of the oldest countries in the world and has the highest life expectancy after Japan. Intensive care and surgeries have become really expensive, but technology and innovation can help increase efficiency and decrease costs. For example, digitalization enables a patient to do consultation from home through telemedicine.

VJC Digitalization is a challenge for all agents in the drug chain, and pharmacies are no exception. Since innovation is one of our core values, we can help pharmacies take on the challenge of digitalization. We have digital management tools such as IOfnet or IOfwin, a business intelligence service such as BIsualfarma, and Campus Fedefarma, an online training campus. We also have Farmaoffice go, a personalized platform that each pharmacy can use to work on its website, image, and online communication, manage its services and activities agenda, and create and publish content.

What is your mission regarding patient-centered care?
CS Our focus is on personalized medicine. Through, for instance, a liquid biopsy, we are capable of taking a blood sample with particles of a tumor and detecting it. Then, through a sequence of DNA, we can identify exactly the kind of tumor a person has. This allows for tailor-made treatment. For breast cancer, we can find out whether a person will react positively to a treatment. Chemotherapy is expensive, but since the tumor can now be identified at a low cost, we can come up with effective drug treatment.

In Barcelona, there is new trend of grouping companies from the same sector to promote knowledge sharing. Why is such collaboration important?
VJC Barcelona and the surrounding territory is a reference in the health sector for the development of a strong pharmaceutical sector, quality healthcare centers, and trained professionals. One of the keys to this success is the model of collaboration between centers, public administrations, and private initiatives. The main beneficiary of such collaboration ends up being citizens, for whom we all work. It is essential to continue to develop this model and strengthen the role of pharmacies within the public health system.