Overview of member country’s Pharmacy Technician Association
Service Union United PAM (chairman Ann Selin) is the trade union for people working in the private services sector in Finland. With over 232 000 members, PAM is the largest trade union in Finland and one of those who is growing all the time. Approximately 80% of the members are women. When joining PAM, every member also joins a trade union branch.
The activities of PAM include: training for managers, shop steward, members active in union affairs at the work place, local branch officials and immigrant members. Training provided for immigrant
members focuses on the study of Finnish, to improve their employment prospects.
Organising and participating in various exhibitions and trade fairs (such as the Pharmacy Fair), seminars and events for union members. Influencing political decision-makers and the public opinion about low-wage branches.
The union branch activities are defined by the Associations Act, and the branch itself is led by the executive committee (the chairman of Pharmacy Technicians is Tarja Seilonen). The branches represent their members in the union; they make motions, influence the living and working conditions of workers in the service sectors and offer services to their members. The executive committee of a trade union branch has the decision-making power. The Pharmacy Technicians association has had approx. 2700 members the last years.
The Pharmacy Branch of PAM organizes professional training and shop steward training for its members. The association requites new members, elected representatives, mainly through the workplaces, as well as directly to the PAM assisted schools. Annual meeting in connection with raising funds for solidarity work. The target of funds will be children´s section, for example.
Trade union branches (for example PAM - Apteekkialan osasto = Pharmacy Technicians) are independent associations that form a union (PAM). PAM has 182 associations. PAM negotiates 42 Collective agreements for its branches.
Short introduction of structure of the pharmacies
In Finland, one can conduct a pharmacy with conditions (pharmacy license) of the Safety and Development Agency for Medicines (Fimea). Fimea decides who gets the license for a new pharmacy. When a new or vacant pharmacy license is announced, the Fimea publish it and make the decision of who gets the license. Pharmacy Permits may be granted a licensed Provisor M. Sc./Pharmacy , who has not been declared bankrupt, appointed guardian or whose competence has not been restricted, he must also be a citizen of the EU economic area.
Pharmacy license is granted to a specific area, usually the municipality. In cities Fimea grants several pharmacy licenses. Pharmacy can be placed freely within the municipality, this means that competing pharmacies may lie right at each other. Branch pharmacy locations are regulated in detail in the Act. The pharmacist can only have a pharmacy license and three branch pharmacy licenses. The pharmacist can also request of Fimea based service for pharmacy within its own municipality or municipal spruce sparsely built or village center. Service can be based only on areas such as the preconditions for a pharmacy or branch pharmacy.
A pharmacy license is personal. Pharmacy Operations may not be leased or transferred. The pharmacist is professionally and financially independent in charge of the pharmacy. The pharmacist must bow his license when he turns 68 years old. For safeguarding the ability of medicines a group of pharmacies rotate the duty (one of them needs to be open). It is not possible to have pharmacy chains in Finland.
In 31.12.2014 there were in total 814 pharmacies (private) of which 614 were main pharmacies and 200 side pharmacies. The figures include the University pharmacies. In addition, there is also in the rural areas, pharmacy cabinets and 103 pharmacy shops, which sell a limited range of non-prescription medicines. The pharmacy shops can also transmit prescription drugs. There is a pharmacy (main, side, shop) for every 6670 inhabitant.
The pharmacist will pay to the State an annual pharmacy fee based on turnover. The purpose of the fee is to fill the revenue gap between pharmacies. The fee is set according to a table of the Law on pharmacy charges (148/1946), so that its share of sales increases as sales rise. The smallest pharmacies pay no pharmacy fee, while the largest has a pharmacy fee that amounts to nearly eleven percent of sales. On average pharmacy charge is more than seven percent of pharmacy sales.
Professions in the pharmacy
Pharmacy staff: Pharmacists (person with pharmacy license, has performed the examination for Master or Doctor of Pharmacy), M.Sc./Pharmacy (can try to get a pharmacy), Pharmacist Bachelor in
Pharmacy (dispenser) and Pharmacy technicians.
59% of staff in community pharmacies has received pharmaceutical education.
Technical workers employed by private pharmacies are represented by Service Union United PAM, whereas the Finnish Pharmacists' Association represents employees with the title of 'proviisori' (M.Sc./Pharmacy) or 'farmaseutti' (Bachelor in Pharmacy, dispenser). The workers of hospital pharmacies (in the public sector) are represented by the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. Community pharmacies employ altogether approximately 7,000 employees in Finland.
Education and training of PT
Pharmaceuticals qualification and its formation
From the beginning of August 2015 initial vocational training consists of occupation carried out in basic modules (135 competence points), common modules (35 competence points) and free choice modules (10 competence points). Basic vocational degree is 180 points of expertise. Alternatively you can demonstrate your skills based on the vocational modules.
Initial vocational training, students can individually include in their basic qualification additional modules, if it is necessary in working life sectoral or local skills requirements or student
deepening of the professional skills.
Pharmaceutics contains two areas of expertise, pharmaceutical expertise (medicine technician) and commercial expertise (medicine technician).
Payment and working conditions
The Finnish system is based on that the Union takes care of the bargaining for the collective agreement (working conditions and wages). All the employers must follow the collective agreement
and also pay at least the minimum wage to all the employees. In Finland the coverage of the Collective Agreement is 100%.
The wage-system for Community Pharmacy Technicians is divided into different groups depending on how (all together 16 different wage-groups)
demanding the work is (cleaner, technical assistant, pharmaceutical technician, pharmaceutical assistants)
how many years you have been working in the branch (1, 4, 7 and 9 years)
Working hours are 115 in a three weeks period, and the minimum wage is from 1572€-1993€/month depending on the demand and working years.
If the employee works over 9 hours/day or 120 hours/3weeks she gets an extra overtime payment from 50%-100%.
The employee can also get additional payment for job-specific, personal and working conditions (evening-, Saturday and holy Eve, and night work).
Salaries from 2013
The fixed salary/month 1986€, Cash salary (incl. working conditions)/month 2083 €.
Recognition of foreign PT qualifications, link to recognition
The Finnish National Board of Education is the National Coordination Point for the European Qualifications Framework appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The National Coordination Point supports and guides the relationship between the national qualification system and the European Qualifications Framework together with other national authorities.
European Qualifications Framework
The European Parliament and the Council adopted the Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) in 2008.
The purpose of the framework is to facilitate the comparison of qualifications and qualification levels of different countries. The framework aims to increase citizens’ mobility and lifelong learning.
In the EQF, qualifications and competences are allocated on eight reference levels. The framework covers all general education, vocational and higher education qualifications. Each level is provided with a description of the knowledge, understanding and practical capability of a person who has achieved that level. Learning outcomes are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competences.
The European Qualifications Framework provides a tool for defining the interrelations of national qualifications and qualifications systems. Each EU Member State references its national qualifications to the eight levels of the European Qualifications Framework, by using national qualifications frameworks or levels of national qualifications systems as guides.
National Framework for Qualifications and Other Learning in Finland
The Finnish government presented its proposal for a law on National Framework for Qualifications and Other Learning to the Parliament on the 3 May 2012. The framework will improve the clarity and effectiveness of the Finnish qualifications system, increase the national and international transparency and comparability of qualifications and promote national and international mobility.
In this framework, the qualifications, syllabi and other extensive competence entities of the Finnish national education system are classified into eight levels on the basis of the requirements. It is proposed that statutory regulations on the level descriptors and the positioning of qualifications, syllabi and extensive competence entities on the various levels on the basis of required learning outcomes be enacted at a later date by a Government Decree.
The framework facilitates overall scrutiny of the Finnish education and qualifications system and other learning. It describes the learning outcomes required by qualifications, syllabi and other extensive competence entities as knowledge, skills and competences, and by defining their interrelations. The competence-based description of qualifications is designed to support lifelong learning, improve employment prospects, increase mobility, and bridge the gap between education and the real world.
The Framework for Qualifications and Other Learning is based on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
In the proposal, Finnish qualifications are placed at the following levels of competence of the National Qualifications Framework:
Learning outcomes produced by completion of the basic education syllabus at level 3
The Matriculation Examination and completion of the upper secondary school syllabus at level 4
Vocational upper secondary qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4
Specialist vocational qualifications at level 5
University and polytechnic Bachelor’s degrees at level 6
University and polytechnic Master’s degrees at level 7
Scientific, artistic and professional postgraduate degrees from universities, e.g. Licentiate and Doctoral degrees at level 8
Link to chambers, professional institutions, registration office
Immigration Office - http://www.migri.fi
Board of Education - http://www.oph.fi/english/services/recognition/international_cooperation
Regional State Administrative Agencies - http://www.avi.fi
Helsinki Vocational College - http://www.hel.fi