PHARMACY

Competition really heating up in Canada

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that Target has revealed the locations of its first 12 stores in Quebec is just one more reminder that the competition in Canada is really going to heat up.

(THE NEWS: Target confirms locations of 12 Quebec debut stores. For the full story, click here)

As previously reported, Target snapped up the leasehold interests of 189 sites currently operated by Zellers and plans to open 125 to 135 stores in Canada, the majority of which will open in 2013.

Meanwhile, Loblaw Cos. is gearing up for Target’s entry into Canada with its acquisition of 95 Zellers pharmacies script files, excluding British Columbia and Quebec locations, the Financial Post recently reported. Analysts hailed Loblaw’s deal as a “huge win” for the retailer as it will enable Loblaw to gain market intelligence as it aims to ramp up its 500 stores’ volume and potentially acquires some long-term business, the Financial Post reported. The Financial Post noted that Loblaw has been adding pharmacies to its banners across Canada, including No Frills. It also has been pushing health and wellness to its grocery shoppers.

The ramped up pharmacy competition in Canada comes at a time when patients there increasingly are tapping into the healthcare knowledge, expertise and services available at their local pharmacies. A recent Nielsen survey commissioned by the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores found that it’s no longer enough for a pharmacy to be a place where medication and advice are dispensed — 96% of nearly 6,000 respondents surveyed believed that it’s important for their pharmacist to play an increased role and work closely with their doctor to optimize care.

Furthermore, the study found that 72% of respondents indicated that they have talked to their pharmacist about health issues beyond their prescribed medication. The most common subject was the treatment of minor ailments (41%), such as mild burns or insect bites. Advice on vitamins and supplements (26%) and dealing with adverse medication reactions (24%) also were commonly discussed.

There’s no doubt that Canada is a hotbed of activity within the pharmacy market, and industry eyes will be closely watching those north of the border for some time to come.

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PHARMACY

Teva launches authorized generic sleep disorder drug

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has launched an authorized generic version of Cephalon’s Provigil, used for conditions like shift work sleep disorder and narcolepsy, the company said Friday.

Teva acquired Cephalon for $6.8 billion in October 2011. An authorized generic is the branded drug marketed under its generic name at a reduced price.

Provigil had annual sales of about $1.1 billion, according to IMS Health.

 


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The new old: Tisane Pharmacy blends European, American, past, present elements

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — One of the advantages to independent pharmacies’ small scale is their ability to forge their own identities and invent new store formats in a way that might be harder for a national or regional chain.

New York, with its famously competitive pharmacy market and diverse population, has long been a hotspot for new store formats, and one of the products of this dynamic environment is Tisane Pharmacy, located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Pharmacy school classmates Inna Shafir and Yelena Yoffe opened the store on Labor Day with the idea of creating a pharmacy that emphasized natural care and comfort. Both also own pharmacies elsewhere in the city.

The store’s most visible feature is the cafe counter near the entrance, a feature that used to be common in American drug stores — which gave rise to the soda jerk — but has mostly disappeared. The cafe serves coffee, tea, pastries and sodas made with syrups dispensed from a glass apparatus that Shafir and Yoffe had to have a friend personally bring over from their native Russia. Another reason for the cafe is that it gives patients — or their kids — something to do while they’re waiting for prescriptions to be filled.

"What we try to achieve is a friendly environment," Yoffe told Drug Store News.

But another distinctive feature is the store’s focus on natural products, as well as hard-to-find brands imported from France, Germany, Poland, Israel and other countries. The store also carries a large selection of herbal teas, reflective of its name, which is a term for herbal tea.

"That’s what we both like, and that was the idea, to promote healthy teas," Yoffe said, recalling how when she would frequently get sick as a child, her grandmother would give her raspberry leaf tea to bring down her fevers.

"As much as the dynamic is characteristically American, it’s also reminiscent of Europe," cafe manager Ben Lundberg said. Lundberg and Yoffe said the cafe had become popular among people in the area, especially those trying to get away from the noise resulting from construction of New York’s 2nd Avenue subway. "It’s really turned into a neighborhood spot," Lundberg said.

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