Sari Westermarck (Finland)
Education: Ph.D. (Pharm.)
Pharmacy owner in Vihti Pharmacy, Finland.
Vice President of the board of the Association of Finnish Pharmacies.
Executive Committee Member of the Community Pharmacy Section at the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).
What excites you about being a pharmacist?
The most important thing is to help and advise patients on their right medical treatment. It also interests me to develop new pharmacy services that are beneficial for the community and society. One example is digital medicine search service in Finland.
Where did you start your career in pharmacy?
I started to work for Orion Corporation int the pharmaceutical industry for product development of new drug products and new drug molecules. It was very interesting and I did my Ph.D.(Pharm.) work at the same time. I enjoyed those years.
How has your career evolved since you first started in the profession?
I have had very interesting years at work. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 10 years. I then worked some years in community pharmacy and at the same time for the Finnish Medicines Agency. After that I worked 6 years for wholesaler, Tamro Finland that belongs to the Phoenix group, in manager and director positions. Then I became a pharmacy owner; my first pharmacy was in the countryside and now I am a pharmacy owner quite near our capital Helsinki. I am interested in developing the pharmacies nationally and also internationally, so I am happy to work as Vice President in the Association of Finnish Pharmacies and also as member of FIP Community Pharmacy Section Executive Committee.
What is (or has been) your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy?
One of the greatest challenges is Covid19. We have had good situation with Covid19 in Finland, but there is all the time worry about the health of our own personnel and our patients. Pharmacies in Finland have been open and served all the time during Covid19 and of course we hope that we will manage in this way throughout the pandemic.
As a leader in pharmacy, what continues to drive you?
Developing pharmacy (including digital) services as a part of the healthcare system. Co-operation with our close partners and stakeholders. And of course continuing to put patients’ needs first all the time.
What do you think needs to happen to have more women in executive roles across various sectors in the profession?
I think that there is a new generation of female pharmacists that are more interested in taking more responsibility and being more actively involved.
What advice would you give to new female pharmacy graduates?
You should find a job that is really interesting for you. Over time, usually you will have new responsibilities. It is also valuable to have a professional network where you will find new work possibilities if needed.