In an i2P editorial dated May 29 2017, an analysis of the rift between Sigma and Chemist Warehouse was provided.
Please take the time to revisit this analysis.
While dialogue between the parties continued since that date, the inevitable has now happened and the rift has become a split.
In the i2P analysis at that time, it was postulated:
“So who will be the ultimate major suitor for Chemist Warehouse logistics and supply system given that eventual divorce seems inevitable?
i2P would hazard a guess that this could be Symbion Pharmacy Services, and this choice leads directly to the possibility of a future merger with the Terry White-ChemMart group.”
That postulate was proven correct with a recent media announcement stating that the EBOS Group (owners of Symbion) were now the contracted suppliers to Chemist Warehouse.
The other component of that postulate included a reference to the Terry White-ChemMart group.
Whether that becomes a possibility will be driven by the success and vigour of the Amazon retail venture that has gained a toehold in Australia recently.
However it is an indication that Australian pharmacy must now take a global view because it will eventually be imposed.
While the Amazon presence in Australia currently is very low key, its pharmacy ambitions are only just gaining traction in the US, with a full-scale pharmacy model yet to emerge.
When that happens, it will roll out in Australia and the Symbion-backed retail brands of Terry White-ChemMart and Chemist Warehouse will have had time to provide a suitable competitive infrastructure and even experiment with global expansion.
Chemist Warehouse has ventured into New Zealand and that must surely represent a pilot for them to the rest of the world.
Intense lobbying will progressively occur with the Australian government, to change pharmacy Ownership Laws and Location Rules.
Given that Location Rules have been solidified following the King Review, they will eventually however, fall over.
Ownership Laws will be the first to fall.
The year that this event is likely to occur is 2022.
Global pharmacies will then be allowed into Australia in their own right
The original editorial was framed just as the King Review was getting under way And Location Rules were under the spotlight.
At the same time, Sigma had reached out to a global pharmacy group involving Bootes, positioning themselves to become global players, if and when the opportunity opened up.
Opportunities for the independent pharmacy sector still remain with developing clinical services and specialised retail segments, but there is simply not enough happening in culture change, innovation and leadership direction to make a visible impact.
Successful global pharmacy groups are characterised through the inclusion of clinics and clinical services – essential core business for any pharmacy operation.
Independent clinical contractors are likely to find a home inside a global pharmacy environment, in health precincts or as smaller community pharmacies in niche areas uneconomic for a global operator.
One stimulus for independent clinical service contractors will be independent prescribing.
The principle of separating the prescriber from the dispenser can successfully be managed in community pharmacy if clinical pharmacists are contractors and do not have pecuniary interest in community pharmacies – and vise-versa.
Prescribing creates a value relationship for collaboration (both with GP’s and prescribing pharmacists) and we are long overdue in having that happen with Australian pharmacists.
Already we have a range of non-medical prescribers in Australia, but the lack of a conflict of interest business model for pharmacists has slowed down the transition.
Also, poor leadership of the medical profession has tended to view positive developments with pharmacists as incursions of “turf” with disruptive warfare the result.
Health literacy consultations hold the promise to become the major stimulus for clinical pharmacists because they underwrite the knowledge transfer of health to patient control.
In turn, that stimulates Self Care as patients utilise their knowledge.
Self Care thus collaboratively supports the retail and logistics services of a community pharmacy.
Self Care is an economical model for health, so it should be government supported.
And it ought to be a priority for community pharmacy leaders to reinvent community pharmacies as “health hubs” hosting a range of professional services, including natural health services.
As of now, we are in countdown mode to become members of a global pharmacy network.
Will we be prepared or remain asleep at the wheel?