Corporate pharmacies 'crucial in slashing medical costs'

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Corporate pharmacies account for 22percent of the retail pharmacy market in South Africa, a mere four years after legislation change, that allowed corporate ownership of pharmacies.

New Clicks Holdings was quick to incorporate the concept of in-store pharmacies and clinics.

The retail chain yesterday celebrated the opening of its 150th Clicks Pharmacy, which is located in Hyde Park.

New Clicks Holdings chief executive David Kneale said yesterday the company, which has 350 stores, intended to eventually have pharmacies in all its stores.

Kneale, who has worked for the UK-, Europe- and Asia-based health and beauty retailer Boots before joining New Clicks in 2006, believes corporate pharmacies will account for 50percent of market share in the next five years.

He said the growth of corporate pharmacies was crucial in aiding government objectives of reducing medical costs of primary health care, and he believed the increase would not necessarily spell an end to independent pharmacies. "Corporate pharmacies can exist side by side with independent pharmacies and thrive. Boots UK has 2500 stores, but there are still 5000 independent pharmacies in the UK.

"Our pharmacies can mean as much as half the normal price of medicines, and that's why the model works," he said.