Chemist Warehouse is setting up its second New Zealand store in the Auckland suburb of Botany… right next door to the Unichem Maxx pharmacy
Readers of New Zealand pharmacy publication Pharmacy Today turned to Facebook to express their dissatisfaction.
“Isn’t there a law in place that prevents this from happening?” wrote reader Amy.
“There should be but there isn’t,” replied Fadiya.
One reader said that the District Health Board (DHB) was “just taking the Mickey now”.
“Service your local population under the Pharmacy Action Plan —but we’ll issue a contract to anyone?” wrote Linda. “Who’s getting an Australian backhander in the contracting?”
Andrew replied that the Ministry of Health issues the licences, and for anything to happen, “I think there needs to be some legislation change as if you restrict the number of pharmacy licence issued, it may be construed as anti-competitive by the commerce commission”.
Linda replied wondering “why they are contracting services where they already have local coverage is anyone’s guess”. “They could call for interest for contracts in the places with insufficient pharmacy coverage for instance.”
Aimee-Leigh wrote that the new Chemist Warehouse store’s location is “ridiculous”.
“So not on for the Unichem pharmacy! Just so underhanded!” she wrote.
And Jane wrote that “Once upon a time that would not be allowed to happen, a pharmacy wouldn’t be allowed a license to operate if there was another pharmacy in that block of shops…. The $ is becoming more important than old fashioned community pharmacies who actually ‘know’ their customers”.
Michael wrote, “Lack of leadership and foresight in the Health Sector much?
“The most ironic thing is your average member of the public would probably see this type of move as a good thing. Until they get seriously ill that is.”
Not everyone was against the move, though: Liz wrote that it’s “about time competition is needed in NZ”.
And Cathy wrote, “Haha bring it on”.
The move comes as an IBISWorld report reveals that My Chemist Retail Group, which includes Chemist Warehouse, now holds nearly a full third of Australia’s community pharmacy market.