Head of My Canadian Pharmacy Marketing: “This Pharmacy Is Your Best Choice”
The owner and founder of this pharmacy chain, as well as the head of the pharmaceutical marketing group Jeffrey Berg shared his ideas about the pace of development of My Canadian Pharmacy and plans to enlarge its products range and improve service level.
Hi Jeffrey, why did you decide to develop a pharmacy network at a time when the majority of the pharmacy market players either leave it or become victims of acquisitions?
Pharmacy retail has always aroused interest in me, first of all, of course, due to its stability and balance. When launching the project to open online pharmacies, our team of analysts and strategic development department clearly understood which segment we should enter, with whom we will have to compete and what risks we can expect. Undoubtedly, the preparatory work was long and thorough. We have studied all pharmacy chains that have ever tried to launch projects for opening pharmacies online. In our work, we pay great attention to honesty and openness in relations with customers and partners. Willingness to share our professional knowledge in the pharmacy business with all, presence of practical experience of running a pharmaceutical business in Canada that brings benefits to our clients is our main task.
Unlike other players in online pharmacy retail market, this Canadian pharmacy do not impose their suppliers or do not force to buy goods under our own brands. We conduct a detailed analysis of all risks, give recommendations and find a solution that will be suitable for our pharmacy. The statistics speaks for itself: for a year and a half we have sold a great share of our product lines and the amount is increasing.
Since the format of this pharmacy is a format “buy-at-home”, this business is successfully developing both in large and small towns. The mistake of the previous networks was the naivety that, after the discovery of a hundredth or a thousand pharmacy, their brand will do everything and pull out the newly opening pharmacy. However, in practice this did not work. That time has already passed, and now a completely different approach for potential investors who want to open pharmacies on franchising. The mission of our pharmacy is to provide profitable conditions for customers to satisfy their needs. Therefore, we determined in advance for ourselves the format of promotions and discounts.
What results did My Canadian Pharmacy achieve in 2017?
According to statistics, our pharmacy ranked first in the list of online pharmacy chains in Canada in the third quarter of 2017. At present, our network supplies more than 120 countries. We are actively developing throughout the globe. Our customers trust us, and this is an important and significant indicator. This means that we are doing everything right. With regard to operating activities, on the basis of one of the specialized suppliers of pharmacy software, our developers have created a unique software that allows us to manage most of the costs and optimize them while doing business in pharmacy with such a wide geography. The department of analytics and control of pricing is following not only the correct formation of the price policy in our pharmacy, but is also constantly analyzing the competitive environment. A clear and well-established system of all business processes within My Canadian Pharmacy allows us to be present in the pharmacy market unerringly in virtually every region of Canada and take its place in it.
What are plans for the network this online pharmacy for the next year?
I’m not inclined to advertise and announce plans of our company. We try our best to work with each customer in any region, paying attention, first of all, to the quality of the service of the final buyer. Undoubtedly, we will actively continue the development and presentation of our brand My Canadian Pharmacy in the regions where we are present. Entrance to new countries is also interesting for us, but it will be more organic because of the growing popularity of our pharmacies in the discounter niche.
I consider one of the most important tasks to strengthen business relations with our suppliers and producers. Now we have a three leading suppliers. Moreover, we are probably one of the few pharmacy chains that have virtually no accounts payable to suppliers. All of our pharmacies work on prepayment, so we have the best input prices from suppliers in comparison with other online pharmacies in Canada. Unfortunately, in 2018, there may be adjustments in the representation of assortment of certain producers who did not fulfill their obligations to our network. As a rule, we deduce their assortment from the turnover in our pharmacies at once throughout the country by rotating on available analogues in the lower price segment.
What is your assessment of the prospects for retail pharmacy market development?
The pharmacy market in Canada is one of the three largest pharmaceutical markets in the world. Until recently, the feature of Canadian pharmaceutical market was its dependence on imports, more than 70% of pharmaceuticals accounted for by foreign manufacturers. However, in connection with the policy of Canadian authorities in the sphere of drug turnover within the framework of import substitution, significant changes are expected. Whether they will benefit the final buyer is a controversial issue.
Canadian pharmacy retail also expects a number of changes, in my opinion, related not only to the processes of consolidation or takeovers, but also to questions of taxation forms and regulation of control over pricing by the state. There are also negative factors, which affect the development of the pharmacy market in Canada. The most significant are imperfection of legislation in the field of quality control of medicines and high barriers to entry into this industry which reduces the level of competition and strengthens the monopoly of a number of participants in the retail pharma market. There is also a shortage of qualified personnel and a high proportion of counterfeit products. We do our best to be as transparent as possible in this regard.