Matteo Tamanini is the Founder of SiCuro, the first Italian service that packages medicines in pre-sorted doses, and delivers them to patients (si-curo.it).
Matteo graduated in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology at Università degli Studi di Bologna, and received an MBA from Profingest.
Q: Last year you launched SiCuro, the first Italian service that packages medicines in pre-sorted doses, and delivers them to patients. How did the idea of SiCuro come about? What opportunity did you spot for the Italian market?
Matteo: Italy is a country that, speaking about health, has issues common to all developed countries in the world. For example, it has to cope with the increased average age of its population, a higher complexity of therapies, a low therapeutic adherence of its citizens. In particular, the last issue has an important impact on the costs of the public healthcare system.
Working for many years in the pharmaceutical sector, and traveling around the world for fairs and events, I came across innovative drug management systems, not yet present in Italy. In fact, the only solution for drug management used so far in our country is a simple pill dispenser.
The implementation of an innovative solution for drug management in Italy requires specialists in the pharmaceutical sector, with an in-depth knowledge of the sector dynamics and regulations. Indeed, Italy is a complex country, with a strict and complicated regulatory framework.
Therefore, by taking advantage of my experience, I decided to develop the SiCuro service, the first Italian solution for packaging medicines in pre-sorted doses. It is a highly technological and safe service, for private patients and nursing homes, which respects all the regulations in force today in Italy.
Q: The current coronavirus situation and the recent introduction of the electronic medical prescriptions in Italy make SiCuro a service that is now, more than ever, useful for patients and pharmacists, and – I would say –strategic to the Italian healthcare system. What are the main benefits that patients and pharmacists can enjoy by using SiCuro?
Matteo: SiCuro is an innovative service that is beneficial not only to the patients, strictly speaking, but also to their families and to those who take care of them.
The first main advantage is the saving of time that is dedicated to the management of the therapy. In fact, the therapy is prepared entirely by the pharmacy that adopts the SiCuro service.
Moreover, SiCuro is safe (like the meaning of its name..), as all the risks associated with the preparation and adoption of the therapeutic plans are managed and minimised. As a matter of fact, we have created a packaging process of medicines that is entirely traced and hyper-controlled, and that respects all the highest levels of hygiene requirements. With SiCuro, we are able to certify an error rate in the therapeutic plan preparation equal to parts per million, absolutely not comparable with the much higher error rate of a manual home preparation.
We have also developed the SiCuro app (available on iOS and Android) that lets the patient (or the caregiver) to create medication reminders, and to manage the personal stock of medications, thanks to reminders for reordering from the doctor. The app allows to create and manage different profiles that can interact with each other (i.e. patient, caregiver, delegate). We are also working on the integration of the app with Alexa, the Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant.
In addition, the patients, by properly adhering to the therapeutic plan prepared with SiCuro, gain health.
On the other hand, from the pharmacist point of view, the adoption of the SiCuro service allows to transform a traditional pharmacy in a “second generation pharmacy”.
The core business of a pharmacy is the sale of medicines to chronic patients. By adopting the SiCuro service, a pharmacy can prepare therapies for its chronic patients, gaining their absolute loyalty.
Moreover, a pharmacy acquires know-how and technologies that allow to strategically position itself as a reference point for chronic patients in a particular territory.
Furthermore, the pharmacy becomes a service provider, able to serve not only private patients (as it is today), but also new types of customers, such as nursing homes.
Q: What difficulties did you have when you started your business? How did you deal with them?
Matteo: One of the biggest difficulties I encountered in launching the business was untangling the complexities of the Italian regulation.
How did we do it? We studied a lot, we traveled around the world, we knocked on many doors, we asked many questions, and we hoped for the right answers. We then selected the best practices for the Italian market, and so we created relationships with key technological partners (SiCuro is a service that provides integrated hardware and software technologies to pharmacies) and we developed our know-how.
All this was possible thanks to the involvement of our technological partners and various suppliers such as the Astolfi e Associati Law Firm, the Japanese Tosho and the Dutch Blisterpartner. For Tosho and Blisterpartner, we are now their official distributor in Italy.
Probably the biggest issue faced was related to the fact that the drug packaging is a service where you cannot make mistakes, because the patients’ health is at stake. It was challenging to develop a safe system not only for the patients, but also for those involved in the production process.
Q: What results have you achieved till now? And what are your development plans?
Matteo: The first objective that we achieved was setting up the first production plant with the first pharmacy, located in Arco (TN). Today the plant produces for more than 100 patients, who receive their therapies only with SiCuro.
We are ready to install the second production plant in a second pharmacy in the North of Italy. Because of the coronavirus, we are waiting for the beginning of the “recovery phase” in Italy. Therefore, we expect that the pharmacy can start the production in the summer.
Our target for 2020 is to serve with SiCuro at least 600 patients. We know that there is high demand for this type of service and that there is great growth potential. So we are ready to play our part.
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For more info on SiCuro visit: https://si-curo.it/