Reports that overseas pharmacy giants are planning to set up Australian operations are idle speculation, Guild believes
Media reports that overseas pharmacy giants such as Walgreens and Boots are considering their options to establish an Australian presence are interesting, but no more than that, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.
Fairfax media sources reported that the global Walgreen Boots Alliance is eyeing off the Australian market.
Alliance global brands president Ken Murphy, who is in Australia to speak at a retail industry conference, says the group would ideally like to open company-owned Boots pharmacies in Australia, but was prevented from doing so by ownership regulations.
To justify the investment of starting up in Australia he says they would need to establish their own chain.
“We’d be happy to do that by acquiring pharmacies but we’d have to have the legal permission to do so,” he said.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia was formed in the late 1920s in large part due to the need to fight off an earlier threatened invasion of the Australian market by Boots.
A spokesperson for the Guild said the latest reports are really little more than “idle musings” given the current corporate ownership regulations.
And the Guild would fight to retain these regulations for the benefit of Australian consumers and for the viability of the industry, the spokesperson said.
There was little desire for overseas corporate players to enter the market, even among proponents of pharmacy deregulation, the Guild believed.
“For all the debate about the need for greater competition in Australian pharmacy, it’s telling that none of the advocates of increased competition has indicated any desire to have these overseas giants enter the market,” the spokesperson said.
“That’s a reflection of the level of competition already in the Australian market.”