Maintaining your business health

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What are the steps you need to take now to ensure your pharmacy’s viability during and after the pandemic? Christian Sirianni outlines some necessary actions 

What extraordinary times we live in! After the devastation of the drought and bush fires, pharmacy now finds itself in the middle of a 100 year challenge.

Thank you to all the pharmacists and community pharmacies, and all our frontline healthcare workers. We are truly grateful to you and all that you and your teams are doing in these crazy times.

Market update

We expect that pharmacy will perform well in financial terms in the current disastrous circumstances as a consequence of COVID-19 and the flow on economic impact.

Anecdotally, the data suggests that pharmacy is counter-cyclical and performs well during tough economic times.

At the recent Medici Capital pharmacy industry dinners and APP On-line economic update presentation, we presented a graph illustrating how well pharmacy does during economic downturns.

The early signals are that, subject to stock availability and keeping your team healthy, pharmacy is very busy and achieving very high levels of sales.

We’ll provide a more detailed update as soon as updated market data is available.

Recommended action

While we understand and hear your frustrations arising from the challenges with customers, suppliers, the Government, and other stakeholders, now is the time to take action and develop a suitable sustainability plan for your pharmacy.

The Government is suggesting that this situation may continue for six months or more.

Here are a few actions you and your team should consider:

Sure up your team – Lead

Your team is the key to your pharmacy’s sustainability and financial success. They are the front line for your pharmacy and your pharmacy’s interface with your community.

In these times of staff shortages, particularly pharmacists, it is time to build your team and make them raving fans for your pharmacy.

You should also consider building your team to manage the extra-demand and services arising from the crisis.

Supply – Stock

An ongoing challenge in the current climate.  Talk to your wholesaler(s) and other suppliers regarding supply of key or urgent product lines.  If necessary, investigate alternate sources for supply.


Consider establishing an outreach service for remote and self-isolating patients/customers.

Talk to patients, customers, and their carers.  Everyone is anxious and stretched both emotionally and financially.  In these uncertain times, help however you can.

Review “what business you’re now in”

Get a handle on how your pharmacy has changed because of COVID-19.  How’s retail?  How’s your shopping centre trading? What about prescriptions?

Check that your team and rosters are suitable for your pharmacy’s changed business circumstances.

Talk to your bank

Give your banker an update and brief them on how you believe your pharmacy will change.

If you are doing well, let them know.  If you have challenges, including uncertainty about the pharmacy remaining open, give your bank some forewarning.

Develop temporary solutions

If business is booming, and you cannot cope with current resources – due to location or business focus, consider:

  • Running an overnight shift (with closed doors) to handle the volumes
  • Subject to the required approvals, consider extra terminals and processing capabilities with additional staffing
  • Train staff and build team culture
  • Discuss with your suppliers adequate access to key products

Review cost and safety net

If business is likely to decline due to location or business focus, consider:

  • Cost savings
  • Deferral of loan and equipment lease repayments
  • Settlement terms with suppliers and wholesalers
  • Negotiate with your landlord

There will be another side to this pandemic and pharmacy’s role within the community and health care has been crystallised and galvanised by COVID-19.

Great work everyone and thanks again for being there for Australia!

Christian Sirianni is a director of Medici Capital, providing Valuations, management consulting and expert reports


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