The international invasion, or not?

road sign says "turning point" - 6CPA

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.”


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  1. Geoffrey Colledge

    We already have Chemist Warehouse which has bent the ownership rules to give the same effect as having Boots or Walgreens. This has led to low wages for pharmacists and assistants while the Guild is powerless to do anything about that.
    We also have banner groups which through their ” compliance” rules have allowed drug wholesalers to control what pharmacies stock or don’t stock.
    I am concerned that this leads to pharmacists being forced to sell what the group dictates not what he or she feels is the best product for the particular patient. Eg I love and have always supported Ego products but can’t sell them to patients because the group I work with doesn’t support Ego. Even when the Ego product is in my opinion the best product for the patient I might have at the time. So I have to sell an inferior product( which is not pharmacy only) because the group says so

    • MA

      Well said couldn’t agree more. How can the Guild on one hand say it will protect pharmacists from huge companies moving in when Chemist Warehouse is able, legally to skirt around the rules, pay 5year university trained pharmacists $27 ph and discount so heavily ruining the livelihood of other pharmacists who own their own business. They do this by opening shops everywhere and using the newly registered pharmacist’s registration for a pitiful low percentage remuneration.
      When is the Guild and Universities offering pharmacy degrees going to get together and place a cap on the number of graduates being
      churned out with pharmacy degrees with no prospect of a job
      in sight (unless snapped up by Chemist Warehouse for their registrations and $27ph.

      • worried

        The problem IS, there is no system, no checks and balances…… its the “supply and demand ” system. The Universities need students for their business model. When the number of Pharmacy students drop off they will be forced to change . CW will be the last to get Pharmacists , in response CW will increase the wages in order to poach them from the independent owners , putting further pressure on them financially, THEN when CW has little competition they will be able to afford to increase wages or decrease wages to accommodate their future business model as there will be less Pharmacies in Australia. Lets hope that happens before the supermarkets take over as wages will drop again after the number of Pharmacies has been slashed and the remaining pharmacists search for work.

        I cant see a way around this scenario at the moment . ANY SUGGESTIONS?

        • worried

          also another possibility in view of this article and equally disturbing …is invasion of the retailers …….but the result is the same……
          the death of independents as they sell out one by one to the big retailers.

          Maybe that is what the Australian public want………

          • worried

            ps and no one will stop them as the pecuniary interest rule can be “loop holed ”
            and no one cares or is willing to do anything about it.

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