13 Dec 2017

Super-size pharmacies put community chemists at risk

11:28 am on 13 December 2017

The rise of the super-sized pharmacies will lead to a reduction in the number of smaller community chemist shops, says a Wellington pharmacist.

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Photo: 123RF

Australian company The Chemist Warehouse has launched in Auckland - cutting prescription charges to zero - while pharmacies located in Countdown supermarkets are also cutting charges.

Wellington pharmacist Ben Latty told Nine to Noon the impact of the big players would be hard hitting, and it would be difficult for any of the independent pharmacy to compete.

"Eventually you'll probably see smaller pharmacies go on and get gobbled up or amalgamated, and then you'll probably have bigger hubs where a particular pharmacy controls a lot of meds for that particular region."

Mr Latty said the large pharmacies made their money through selling other products once the person was in the store, rather than on prescription charges.

"They are essentially giving all of that away, and then just making it all up in retail, with big, big volumes. No pharmacy can compete with the types of gross profit these guys are running on."

Pharmacy Guild chief executive Andrew Gaudin said the introduction of the large scale pharmacies presented both challenges and opportunities.

"What you are seeing with some of the new entrants is that they are focused on products and price, rather than services. So there are different markets and I think it gives a great opportunity for many pharmacies to work out just what market they are in, and where they are best placed to do a great job for their communities."

Mr Gaudin said the number of community pharmacies had been increasing in recent years and he was confident that trend would continue.

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