The pharmaceuticals industry is changing and it's not good news for small independent pharmacies...Anita Senaratna reports.
After over 70 years in the neighbourhood, Fountain Pharmacy has shut up shop at their Macleay Sreet premises. They haven’t gone far, though- they’ve just moved across the road and rebranded as Priceline.
“It was not an easy decision to move it because it had been there for so long,” said owner Edward Tanzil, who took over the pharmacy in 2011.
Tanzil said that external factors such as price disclosure, the growth of online and discount pharmacies and more generic medication hitting the market as patents expire were changing the face of the pharmaceuticals industry and making it difficult to continue operating as an independent pharmacy.
“It wasn’t that we weren’t doing well... even though we were growing in that small space, I could see in the horizon things that will have a further impact to pharmacies. I figured that if I wanted to continue and still be relevant, I had to make a change,” he said.
“[Priceline are] a wonderful group- they’re Australian, they understand women, they’re really good for our profession because they offer this value, they offer a range and yet they don’t sacrifice professionalism or service.”
It’s still business as usual for Tanzil and his team, though. The store opened on July 3 and so far, they’ve been doing well.
“I know that people are going to be getting that value and they’re going to be getting the same service that they had before because it’s still me and my team,” he said.
“People in this community don’t like faceless men or big corporations; they like to be able to support local business owners. I’ve always thought that if you’re passionate about something and you’re good at it then you will be successful.”
More details about the challenges facing pharmacies can be found in the Pharmaceutical Guild of Australia's pre-budget submission.