Like the mom-and-pop store, the independent pharmacist is coming under pressure as the juggernaut, called the corporation, flexes its muscle.
South Africa’s pharmacists have voiced their concern in a survey conducted by financial services firm PPS. In a statement released yesterday pharmacist express concerns over the impact that the expanse of pharmacies in large retail chains is having on their profession.
The survey of more than 200 pharmacists – which comprised 22% of those in public employment and 78% in private – found that 86% of respondents felt threatened by the expanse of pharmacies in large retail stores.
PPS Head of Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations, Gerhard Joubert, said it is unsurprising that pharmacists are concerned about the impact of retail stores moving into the pharmacy space. “People tend to have far less time these days than in the past, with the result that many may opt for a pharmacy that is located in a large retail store as they can combine two trips in one.”
Joubert noted that it is not simply about ease of accessibility, as the larger retail stores may also be able to offer certain product lines at a discounted price due to their greater bargaining power.
In fact, 92% of respondents to the survey said they were concerned about the impact that discounts in large stores would have on their business.
Joubert thinks that the growth of pharmacies in large retail stores can have myriad benefits for consumers, enabling them to access pharmaceutical services at their own ease. “However, the benefits of building a relationship with a local independent pharmacy should not be underestimated, as they also have more of an opportunity to get to know the customers and may be better placed to advise them on off-the-shelf medicinal requirements”.