Important contribution to combating COVID-19
In 2021, the Galenica Group was once again able to demonstrate and further consolidate its leading role in the Swiss healthcare system. Galenica made a key contribution to the security of procurement and supply as well as patient safety and health through its logistics services and pharmacy offerings to combat COVID-19.
In April 2021, pharmacies in Switzerland began dispensing COVID-19 self-tests. The employees in logistics and the pharmacies only had a few days to prepare for one of the largest dispensing campaigns in the history of Swiss pharmacies. In addition, the self-tests were delivered to pharmacies in packs of 25, and the pharmacies had to repackage them into sets of five in order to meet official requirements.
By the end of September, upon presentation of their health insurance card, people were able to receive five COVID-19 self-tests per person per month; these were paid for by the federal government. Amavita and Sun Store customers were also able to have their five tests sent to their home monthly on subscription. The Galenica Group pharmacies were already offering antigen and PCR tests at the end of 2020, and antibody tests were made available in November 2021. By the end of December 2021, more than 230,000 antigen, PCR and antibody tests had been carried out in Galenica Group pharmacies. Since spring 2021, the three pharmacy formats Amavita, Sun Store and Coop Vitality have also been able to offer vaccinations against COVID-19. In Switzerland, the vaccination permit for pharmacies is regulated at cantonal level. As of the end of 2021, 190 Galenica Group pharmacies with the corresponding cantonal licence were offering COVID-19 vaccinations. In relation to this, Galenica has given more pharmacy employees special training and has adapted the capacity of some pharmacies.
In order to overcome the major logistical challenge of distributing the COVID-19 self-tests, Galexis set up separate warehouse and sales logistics functions in spring 2021, which it integrated into the regular operating processes over the course of the year under review.
The logistics companies of the Galenica Group supported the authorities in ensuring the availability of logistics services to transport vaccines in 2021, in particular Alloga in the canton of Bern and Unione Farmaceutica Distribuzione (UFD) in Ticino. As each canton determines its own COVID-19 logistics for vaccines, with the military pharmacy taking priority, the distribution concept also differs from canton to canton.
HCI Solutions also made valuable contributions to combating COVID-19 in 2021. After the medical and pharmacy software Documedis® was approved by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) as a reporting solution for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, HCI Solutions promptly programmed the necessary interfaces for the software connection. Since then, pharmacies and medical practices have been able to record information on the vaccinations and tests for their patients, print confirmations and send the corresponding data to the relevant authorities at the touch of a button.
COVID-19 in figures
- Between April and September 2021, Galexis and UFD delivered around 14 million COVID-19 self-tests to Swiss pharmacies.
- In 2021, around 230,000 antigen, PCR and antibody tests were carried out at all Galenica pharmacies.
- In 2021, Galenica Group pharmacies dispensed some 8.5 million self-tests.
- Galenica’s more than 190 pharmacies, which have a vaccination licence in 18 cantons, administered more than 90,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in the year under review.