All operations and initiatives of the Pelion family companies are focused on people, that is on Patients, and indirectly on each retail or business customer whom the Pelion family supplies with products and services. Irrespective of the customer's identity – be it a Patient, a Patient's family member, hospital or another healthcare institution, pharmaceutical company provided with services – it is Patients and their long and quality lives whom we put at the core of our business philosophy.
The way covered by a product before it reaches the customer is often very long, both literally and figuratively. It needs to be developed, tested, manufactured with the use of processes ensuring its safety, and finally delivered to the customer. Compliance with the procedures and policies applicable at Pelion companies guarantees that all products on the pharmacy and store shelves are properly transported and stored, and thus safe and effective.
At the Group companies involved in research, testing and manufacture, as well as at those involved in wholesale, retail sale and distribution of pharmaceutical products to hospitals, stringent procedures designed to ensure product safety are followed. Such procedures govern the individual processes along the supply chain. Comprehensive and state-of-the-art infrastructure has also been built to support the receipt, storage and release of drugs. It is enormous responsibility to ensure the Patient's safety. It must be always possible to quickly locate and suspend the sale of a specific batch of drugs if the manufacturer or the Main Pharmaceutical Inspectorate identifies any irregularities in the production. Not even a minor error is allowed in dispatching drugs either, as any such error might result in a delay in drug delivery. Safety is the responsibility of wholesale managers as well as the complaint and control departments, which work closely with suppliers. The Quality Assurance Department, headed by the Quality Director, makes sure that all business processes are conducted properly, up to the required standards of quality. All distribution processes are subject to the procedures of the Quality Assurance System, based on the requirements of Good Distribution Practice, and must comply with applicable laws, internal procedures and regulations. At every stage of the distribution process, products of each group are handled in accordance with the applicable legal regulations.
For us, pharmacists who own and run pharmacies, it is particularly important to be able to obtain a given medicinal product as fast as possible and to deliver it to the Patients.
“For us, pharmacists who own and run pharmacies, it is particularly important to be able to obtain a given medicinal product as fast as possible and to deliver it to the patients. In practice, with so many manufacturers and such a wide range of medicinal products on offer, we are not able to store all available drugs at the pharmacy. After all, some of them are needed only in extremely rare cases. Therefore, keeping all products in stock would be irrational and could also cause waste as drugs have their expiry dates. The possibility of having medicinal products delivered to the pharmacy overnight is the best solution. Thus we are able to provide the necessary treatment to the sick, while maintaining optimum inventory levels. Bear it in mind that behind every order there is a person suffering from a specific disease, often serious and severe. The inability to provide prescribed medicines gives rise to additional and completely unnecessary stress. Hence, the presence of a large partner with appropriate storage facilities and logistic capabilities is an essential element of the system, without which the provision of healthcare services would hardly be possible. This is a highly effective business model.”
The companies operate modern and reliable warehouses furnished with innovative solutions, such as a unique order picking line. The way the warehouses operate is monitored by way of internal audits and external inspections, e.g. by the Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations (SANEPID) and Sanitary Inspectorates.
With a view to ensuring that products are delivered to customers in a safe manner and that the quality required for their designated use
With a view to ensuring that products are delivered to customers in a safe manner and that the quality required for their designated use is maintained, Pelion:
GPS monitoring of vehicles used for transport is carried out on a 24/7 basis. Deliveries are made in accordance with the following distribution model: a standard delivery in 24 hours, 98 routes, direct deliveries within 12 hours and emergency deliveries. The temperature department supporting the entire distribution chain is responsible for vehicle validation, monitoring of the technical condition of vehicles and equipment to the extent it relates to transport conditions, alerts on exceeding limits, recorder supervision.
How we ensure road transport safety?
Road transport safety is ensured by:
The family of Pelion companies understands the importance of protecting customers' privacy and personal data. No complaints regarding breaches of customer privacy were received in 2016. Furthermore, in 2016 no financial penalties were imposed on any Pelion Group company due to any legal or regulatory non-compliance concerning supply or use of products and services.
Since 2013, the companies have followed the policy governing their advertising, marketing and PR activities.
The policy requires the employees to exercise particular care to ensure that all information given and published is true and reliable. Publishing any content which is offensive or which damages the good name of third parties is unacceptable. All content must be in compliance with applicable laws. Any communications should be made in line with the CSR principles. Their content may not imply approval for any illegal or unethical conduct and may not be misleading. Research results, scientific terms, quotations from technical and research publications may not be used in a misleading manner. Statistical data should not be presented in a manner which implies that their value is greater than it actually is. Communication should refer only to current and true recommendations, also if relating to personal experiences of persons giving such recommendations. The content and form of published advertisements may not offend moral or religious standards of their recipients. In addition, the message and form of advertisement should be formulated in a manner that does not abuse the consumers' trust or take advantage of their lack of experience or knowledge. Advertisements should not contain any discriminating content, especially on grounds of race, religion, gender or nationality.
In 2016, 47 breaches, mostly incidental, of the communication rules that pharmacies are required to observe were identified. Regulations, effective since 2012, which pertain to communication between pharmacies and Patients, including the vague definition of pharmacy advertising, raise interpretation uncertainties. In accordance with applicable laws, only the opening hours and location of pharmacies may be communicated. Giving additional information on, for instance, the fact that a given pharmacy is accessible to the elderly or the disabled, or that it accepts drug insurance, or that its staff speak a language other than Polish, has been disapproved of by the pharmaceutical regulator. In practice, this results in the instigation of proceedings concerning infringement of the regulations.
The flagship disease prevention programme, addressed to the employees of the Pelion family, is the Pelion Wellness Programme. The related Pelion Wellness Programme blog brings together more and more employees who are interested in physical activity, healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as work-life balance.
In 2016, the programme initiatives included giving protective free vaccinations against flue before the autumn and winter season, Children's Day events for children and their parents, events focusing on prevention of spinal conditions. The ‘fruity days’ during which the Company employees were offered fresh fruit enjoyed significant interest.
Under the Pelion Wellness Programme, the employees were encouraged to take part in the DOZ Marathon Łódź. Coached running practices were organised and advice was shared on the blog. Almost 100 employees and more than 115 employees' children signed up for the 2016 competition.
Another significant programme addressed to the employees of the Pelion family companies is the PULS Programme − a unique, comprehensive medical care programme developed from the very beginning with our employees in mind. The PULS Programme's medical centre is the Brzeziny Specialist Hospital, a member of the Pelion family. The medical package it offers includes a wide range of medical services: from medical consultations, medical tests and outpatient treatment to surgery and hospitalisation. PULS is also a comprehensive disease prevention programme reducing the risk of contracting a disease, and − if the disease occurs – giving the opportunity to diagnose it at an early stage. The programme also comprises dedicated medical packages and modern services. The employees have access to physicians of 20 medical specialties. The package also covers several hundred diagnostic tests, such as laboratory and imaging tests (including X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI), and endoscopic tests (colonoscopy, gastroscopy). Women employees may also use the PULS FOR MUMS package, including a broad range of healthcare services covering pregnancy, labour and the first weeks after childbirth. Women employees of the Pelion family who participate in the PULS Programme may, if needed, be given surgical treatment of breast cancer and additional support to fight this commonest malignant cancer in women. In the Responsible Business Forum's ‘Responsible Business in Poland 2016’ report, experts recognised the PULS Programme as a good and exemplary business practice.
In 2016, under the PULS Programme:
Including the employees of the other companies in the PULS medical care programme is planned for the upcoming years. In 2016, funding for the PULS Programme amounted to over PLN 1.5m.
run in 2016 under the PULS Programme
Measuring blood pressure and glucose levels. In January and March 2016, at two Pelion complexes located in Łódź (at ul. Zbąszyńska and in the Nowy Józefów residential estate) we measured our employees' blood pressure and glucose levels. Additionally, those employees who attended the event held at ul. Zbąszyńska could consult an internist. Those with worrying symptoms were referred for additional tests or referred to a medical specialist. The event was attended by 87 employees.
Meetings with dieticians. In May and November 2016, we organised two meetings with dieticians. The first one was aimed at familiarising the employees with fundamentals of healthy eating. During the second one, in November, the employees learnt the basics of cooking healthy Christmas foods. As a continuation of the November session, workshops for the employees' children were organised. During the two-hour workshops, the children prepared their own sweet snacks and discovered healthy substitutes for their favourite sweets. The two meetings were attended by 59 adults and 37 children.
Mini workshops with a physiotherapist. The objective was to give basic tips for a healthy spine at the workplace. During 20-minute sessions a physiotherapist from the Brzeziny Specialist Hospital talked about bad habits that cause back pain, such as an incorrect sitting position. He also showed some simple back-strengthening exercises. Each participant received two educational leaflets with information on how to avoid back problems. The sessions were attended by a total of 150 employees.
First aid workshops. Training on how to give first aid was continued as part of the PULS Programme. In August 2016, the employees of the Pelion family companies were invited again to participate in the training. This time, in addition to administering first aid to adults, we learnt how to give emergency treatment to children and babies. The participants also learnt how to use automated external defibrillators, such as the ones available on the company's premises. The workshops were attended by 52 employees.
Post-holiday removal of dermal nevi. Dermal naevus tests carried out in September were very popular with the employees of Łódź-based Pelion companies which have joined the programme. The tests were performed in two stages. During the first stage, the participants were examined by oncological surgeons for the nevi on their skin. If a given naevus was suspected to be health-threatening, the affected employee was advised to have surgery. Once removed, the nevi were subject to histopathological examination. 83 employees were examined.
In the Responsible Business Forum's ‘Responsible Business in Poland 2016’ report, experts recognised the initiative as a good and exemplary business practice.
The ‘Urtica for Children’ project is the Company's response to the social issue of loneliness and suffering of children bedridden in hospitals, far from their peers, friends and families. The project is about much more than just financial support of hospitals, because apart from financial support of children's oncology and haematology wards, the project objectives include helping the youngest Patients fighting cancer. In addition to oncological treatment, physical activity and proper diet are of great importance in cancer treatment. The main value is the time devoted to children and involvement of numerous people and institutions in making the lives of little cancer patients as normal and joyful as possible. Regular art workshops and contact with people from outside the hospital help the children to better cope with their isolation from families and friends. The 2016 edition was exceptional, because trips to the Urtica for Children Camp were organised for Patients and their parents. These summer holiday trips to Kraków were organised in cooperation with the Unicorn Psycho-Oncology Centre. While staying on the Urtica for Children Camp, minor Patients and their parents were under the care of qualified personnel, had meetings with a dietician, physiotherapist and psycho-oncologist, as well as attended group sessions conducted by animators and physical activity instructors. In the Responsible Business Forum's 'Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices 2016' report, experts recognised the Urtica for Children Camp as a good and exemplary business practice.
The Urtica for Children project has been carried out by PGF Urtica since 1997. Initially, the project took the form of a charity auction organised annually to support children's oncology and haematology wards. The next major phase in the development of the Urtica for Children initiative marked winning the cooperation of visual artists and educationalists, as well as the launch of the Sunny Gallery cycle of art workshops at hospitals. The most recent edition of the project covered as many as 17 hospitals in Poland. The workshops are attended by the little Patients and their works are put up for auction during the Urtica for Children's official charity gala in Wrocław. The funds are used to purchase specialist medical equipment, art materials and toys for little patients.
Last year, I had the pleasure of co-organising and running the URTICA FOR CHILDREN CAMP.
Last year, I had the pleasure of co-organising and running the URTICA FOR CHILDREN CAMP. It was a truly magnificent experience, both for me and for all members of the association. We could see the strength derived from teamwork between children and their parents, workshops, educational sessions, and from the very sense of being part of a group. Parents had a chance to see their kids in a completely different environment and often went beyond themselves leaving their children under the supervision of others, while not long before they had to spend with them several months at in-patient facilities. Additional psychological group sessions and one-on-one interviews created an opportunity to deal with unhealthy emotional patterns, which considerably impair the quality of parents’ and, indirectly, their children’s lives. In short, the knowledge and expertise of professionals, shared experience, wonderful surroundings, diversity of activities, safety and support provided the participants with the strength they sought at the URTICA FOR CHILDREN CAMP.”
Since its establishment, Pelion's social initiatives have been addressed to local communities. The ongoing initiatives (the DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation, Urtica for Children programme, DOZ Marathon Łódź and the sponsorship of the Pharmacy Museums of Łódź and Lublin) support particular people and organisations in local communities. Pelion's community outreach initiatives are based on cooperation with local government, higher education institutions and NGOs in the individual regions in which the Pelion companies are located.
With a view to professionalising and constantly increasing the effectiveness of social outreach initiatives, a decision to centralise charitable initiatives was made, leading to the establishment of the corporate foundation (DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation). Another step towards professionalisation, in line with the latest trends in corporate philanthropy, was the decision to focus on initiatives connected with our business profile, that is, indirectly, on promoting long and quality life. With such approach, our assistance is not limited to financial support. All our initiatives are long-term projects, subject to continuous development and improvement. Since 2008, the DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation has been coordinating the activities of the individual Group companies and initiating unique projects for the benefit of local communities. For 18 years, PGF Urtica has organised the Urtica for Children event, with its Sunny Gallery project addressed to children with oncological diseases. The DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation is a partner of this event.
Employees of Pelion companies frequently engage in social outreach initiatives
Employees of Pelion companies frequently engage in social outreach initiatives: they work as volunteers, make donations directly from their salaries or in the form of 1% of their personal income tax.
They also often donate the most precious gift, their own blood. In 2016, four blood donation campaigns were organised at Pelion. The Foundation was the social partner of those campaigns. Numerous volunteers are Honorary Blood Donors, who encouraged their colleagues to join the campaign. In all four campaigns, 95 blood donations were made, with the volume of blood donated totalling 42.75 litres.
Both the blood donation campaigns and a fundraising campaign for the benefit of an employee's child were recognised by the Responsible Business Forum's experts as an exemplary practice in the 'Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices 2016' report.
Like in the previous years, in line with the defined objectives, the Foundation supports persons in difficult financial and personal circumstances. This support enables such persons to continue or start treatment they could not afford before. What makes the DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation stand out is the internally developed tools guaranteeing that funds donated to the Foundation will be used as intended. Since November 2013, the DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation has been a supporting member of the Forum Darczyńców association of donors, which guarantees high standards of CSR management at an NGO.
A majority of charities struggle with the problem of insufficient funds
“A majority of charities struggle with the problem of insufficient funds. They dream of a business partner with whom they could build a long-term cooperation. By helping the poor, the lonely, the disabled or the homeless, we can see that these people do not care about their health as much as they should. They can afford neither the living conditions we would call healthy, nor the medical care or treatment they need. Therefore, the importance of support which involves the provision of the most necessary medicinal products can hardly be overestimated. It is real people who need help. People who are commonly perceived as those outside the society. For us and our partners, they are first and foremost human beings and this is what makes them invaluable.”
The Foundation has introduced special cards to ensure that its beneficiaries use the funds exclusively to purchase medicinal products and medical materials. Funds deposited on such card may be used exclusively at a pharmacy.
St. Brother Albert Aid Society awarded
In 2016, the St. Brother Albert Aid Society awarded the DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation with:
in recognition of the Foundation's overall support of the Society.
The Foundation's beneficiaries
In 2016, the Foundation supported 46 persons, including 23 children, all suffering from chronic diseases. A majority of donations from individuals, including in the form of 1% of PIT, are used to support those persons.
'Become a Benefactor'
The 'Become a Benefactor' programme is designed to support the Foundation's beneficiaries. The 'Become a Benefactor' programme, as well as other initiatives of the Foundation, are supported by famous people. The Ambassadors of the Foundation include the opera singer Anna Cymmerman; Himalayan mountaineer Piotr Pustelnik; Tomasz Gołębiewski, the concertmaster of the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra; judge Anna Maria Wesołowska; traveller Tomasz Grzywaczewski, and runner Karolina Nadolska.
'Happy Children's Day' and 'You Can be the Santa Claus'
Each year, the children supported by the Foundation receive gifts from the Foundation and its volunteers. Prior to the Santa Claus gift event, little Patients write letters to Santa Claus asking for the gifts of their dreams.
In 2016, to celebrate Easter, the Foundation organised an art competition for little Patients. The winners received attractive prizes and the other participants were given sweets. The most beautiful card was selected as Pelion's corporate Easter card.
The 'Together We Can Accomplish More' project
The project beneficiaries are people in need, placed under the care of various organisations, including foundations and associations. On a regular basis, they receive aid for financing the purchase of drugs and any necessary medical products. Thanks to joint efforts of the organisations, the aid reached the disabled, children, single mothers, families with children, the homeless, and persons in difficult financial circumstances. These initiatives contribute to reducing poverty and preventing social exclusion.
Single Mother Shelters
The project is designed to support single mothers receiving aid from various institutions all over Poland. The Foundation provides these institutions with material and financial assistance for the purchase of drugs and medical products. The Foundation also organises clothing, toy and book collections for children and their mothers.
Best PracticesIn December 2016, during the meeting of managers from all Pelion Group companies, the 'Give a Teddy Bear' campaign, dedicated to children from Single Mother Shelters, was organised. Everybody could volunteer to personally make and decorate toys, which were then delivered to the shelters in Łódź, Wrocław and Poznań. A Charity Evening with Santa to raise funds for children and mothers from Single Mother Shelters was also organised. Another objective of the project is to help single mothers become independent. In the Responsible Business Forum's 'Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices 2016' report, experts recognised the Charity Evening as a good and exemplary business practice.
The DOZ Foundation's other initiatives
All year round, the Foundation supports numerous local initiatives, striving to be a good neighbour and a responsible citizen of local communities to which it belongs. The supported organisations included the 'House in Łódź' Foundation and the St. Brother Albert Aid Society.
In 2016, the Foundation also supported initiatives which have been for many years organised by Łódź-based charitable institutions, including the 'Heart for Christmas' project run by Łódź Archdiocese Caritas and the 'Painted with Hope' initiative launched by the Association for the Disabled at the Łódź Archdiocese.
Towards the end of 2016, as part of the 'Give a Heart' project, the first charitable product reached the DOZ pharmacies: a convenient heart-shaped box for drugs. Proceeds from the sale of these boxes will co-finance the DOZ Foundation's initiatives. In the Responsible Business Forum's 'Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices 2016' report, experts recognised the idea as a good business practice.
DOZ Marathon Łódź is a well-appreciated and recognisable initiative in the CSR area. While promoting healthy lifestyles and physical activity, it also promotes a modern model of charity, encouraging participants to combine running with help for the needy. In 2016, the organisation of the marathon was co-sponsored by PZU.
DOZ Marathon Łódź is an annual three-day event with a number of accompanying events and attractions for both runners and their supporters. In addition to the marathon and accompanying ten-kilometre run, the event includes the Kids' Run, the Breakfast Run with Polish sports stars, a family picnic with medical check-ups, as well as the fair for exhibitors and partners of the event.
The organisers also take care of appropriate physical preparation of the runners, who can train with the dbam o zdrowie Team free of charge, at different levels, under the watchful eye of experienced coaches.
In 2015, the DOZ Marathon Łódź was the first running event in Poland to receive a five-star certificate of the European Athletics Federation, confirming that it is organised to the highest standards. Another proof of appreciation came when Łódź was chosen to host Poland Women's Marathon Championships.
The scale of the DOZ Marathon Łódź is best illustrated by the figures concerning the 2016 sixth edition:
While running, the participants consumed:
On top of the sports-related goals, the Łódź marathon has been meant to promote charity in a modern style. As part of the 'Running to Help' initiative, runners could make a donation to a charity of their choice while registering for the event. Participants could also organise their own charity drives through fundraising websites for an individual person or public benefit organisation, or support charity drives organised by other runners. The overall goal of the 'Running to Help' campaign is to increase the awareness of barriers in access to medication. The DOZ Fundacja dbam o zdrowie Foundation is a partner of the initiative. Disabled persons in wheelchairs also participate in the marathon.
In the Responsible Business Forum's ‘Responsible Business in Poland 2016’ report, experts recognised the DOZ Marathon Łódź as a good and exemplary business practice.
DOZ Marathon Łódź has become a fixture in the calendar of Polish and international marathons.
“DOZ Marathon Łódź has become a fixture in the calendar of Polish and international marathons. It has also become a fixed element in the schedule of key events held in Łódź. The run encourages the Łódź residents to spend their free time outdoor, but also serves as a perfect form of promoting the city. The uniqueness of this marathon is further enhanced by the side events, which involve a number of volunteers supporting charity initiatives or helping the disabled to participate in the run. We are glad that such an event is held in Łódź, and not in some other city.”
Each year, Natura engages in community outreach projects by supporting charity initiatives. In 2016, its beauty store chain joined the ‘Lucky Ducats’ campaign. As part of the project, launched by the Mint of Poland (Mennica Polska S.A.) in 2014, customers donate change received when paying for their purchases to charity. From June to August, all those who decide to join the campaign will receive a brass ducat produced by the Mint of Poland’s masters, famous for their craftsmanship, for each five złoty given to charity. In 2016, Customers shopping at any of the Natura beauty stores could collect a lucky ducat instead of the change. The proceeds were donated to the Fundacja TVN ‘Nie jesteś sam’ foundation.
Responsible business conduct means that customers should receive reliable information and education about what products, if any, they need. This is particularly true for pharmaceutical products as excessive or incorrect intake of such products entails many more risks than mere excessive consumption. Excessive or incorrect intake of medicines can pose an actual threat to a person's health or life, which is one of the reasons why health education and disease prevention is a top priority for the Pelion family.
Each of our business lines publishes its own periodicals, with some addressed to professionals, i.e. hospitals and pharmacists, and some to the general public. The latter ones can be successfully used to raise Patients' awareness of specific health problems and of the necessity to take preventive steps. DOZ S.A. publishes ‘DOZ Magazyn dbam o zdrowie’, a periodical addressed to patients and all those who care for their health, fitness and mental well-being. The company is also well aware of health problems affecting the elderly, whose age exposes them to more health conditions, and whose needs and interests differ from those of the younger generation. Its dedicated Magazyn 60+ periodical is addressed to seniors and focuses on issues they face on a daily basis.
The autumn of life is not always beautiful, or rather, not every part of it is beautiful. As time goes by, we discover that our eyes and ears are beginning to fail.
“The autumn of life is not always beautiful, or rather, not every part of it is beautiful. As time goes by, we discover that our eyes and ears are beginning to fail. We also start to have difficulty moving. It feels even more painful in the ever more rapidly changing world. At every step, even in a shop, you may encounter impatient shop assistants or labels that are hardly readable. It is, therefore, very important for us to find places where the staff behave differently, dedicate their time to explain differences between products to an elderly person, to help read something, etc. It is particularly important in the case of drugs, which the elderly usually need in large amounts. Let’s say, offering a cheaper generic alternative. It is so little. It is just a moment. But it means so much for a pensioner’s limited budget. And a little bit of empathy, unfortunately so rare in today’s rushing world. If only such pharmacies were marked somehow.”
Guided by similar principles, the Pelion family set up COGNINET (cogninet.eu), a unique proprietary programme designed to encourage Patients to have brain and brain-related disease check-ups. According to WHO estimates, more than 35 million people around the world are affected by dementia and other memory problems. This number is set to double in the next 30 years. Finding and applying effective measures to combat this epidemic and treat associated conditions is one of the key challenges faced by today's healthcare systems and medicine. More than 5 million Poles are 65+, with the number of those suffering from dementia on the rise. One of the main contributory factors is widespread stress affecting modern societies. COGNINET is a tool which not only raises Patients' awareness but also allows them to diagnose any potential problems by themselves and thus take preventive steps in time.