With the likes of the merger of the TerryWhite Chemmart group, IRI said it signals an emerging change in direction for the market.
“We are seeing the change in strategy more reflective of what has been occurring in the grocery channel for some time. Key banner groups are using product assortment for differentiation with their pharmacies, consistency of range, the importance of using price to demonstrate retail brand value and changing supply chain logistics to meet consumer demand,” said IRI’s healthcare development director, Kurt Petersen.
According to IRI, the emerging business trend reflects the growing focus for groups to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pharmacy giants by leveraging on branding, value, professional services and ‘front of shop’.
Influencing these changes is the impact of ‘out-of-the- box’ retailing strategies in a very traditional channel, such as Chemist Warehouse who has capitalised on a very strong low cost value proposition to their consumers.
“Today’s Pharmacist is under a lot of pressure to add additional services and care beyond the dispensing of prescription medications, such as new Over-the-Counter products and categories, extra support such as Pharmacy Services and Community Care,” added Petersen.
As the retail pharmacy channel continues to face downward pressure from the Federal Government who continue to look for ways to optimise the funding of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, pharmacist need to broaden their role supporting their communities through the products and professional services they can offer, according to IRI.
“The enhanced focus and attention on these areas is a positive move for the community however means it is critical for pharmacists to get the offer right to continue to be a central health destination for the local areas they support,” concluded Petersen.