Ignacio Merino
Director General
Farmacia París
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View from the Top

Evolution Needed to Strengthen Pharmacy Business Practices

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 04/20/2020 - 17:13

Q: Why should people consider Farmacia París as their first and best option?

A: Farmacia París is known as the pharmacy of the people. We are not a pharmacy that offers non-trademarked medicines at a discount. We sell brand-name, quality products, at the best price. We offer the widest range of products sourced directly from top laboratories and manufacturers. We work hard to offer unique services, like compounded formulas or shipping across the country. Ultimately, we care about the wellbeing of our customers. That is why we honor with fidelity the prescriptions written by physicians. We strive to be an ethical business enterprise.

We have been innovators from the beginning. In 1995, we opened the homeopathy division, partnering with the best labs in the country and offering an extended schedule going from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday. In that same year, we opened our dermatology division, which was revolutionary for the Mexican pharmaceutical industry in the 1990s as no other pharmacy had anything comparable. Today we are the only pharmacy in the country that offers Ayurvedic medicine.

Q: What are Farmacia París’ strongest areas and what other areas does the company want to strengthen in the near future?

A: Our biggest strength is the relationship we have with our partners and customers, such as laboratories, suppliers and manufacturers. Some relationships go back many decades and in some cases many generations. Our second most important differentiator is our beauty and personal care offering, because we believe in helping our customers cater to their own well-being. Thirdly, I can highlight our range of surgical and hospital products to support both public and private medicine practices. Our diabetes division will also remain as one of our most important divisions for the next 20 years, as Mexico’s diabetes crisis continues to balloon.

Q: What is Farmacia París’ growth strategy?

A: The sector is evolving from being a traditional retailer to a business focused on customer experience. Farmacia París is transforming according to that trend. We are working on alliances with Laboratorio Medico Polanco, to offer on-premises clinical tests and lab-work. We are partnering with Óptica Devlyn to offer audiology and ophthalmology services. In the near future, we are also looking to incorporate general medicine offices through a partnership with a select group of doctors. We want to support and care for our community by offering all healthcare services and products in one place. In 2019 we opened our first Farmacia Paris Botica, which is having great success. We are using this first venture as a learning testbed in order to open other branches in 2020. Nevertheless, our goal is not to grow into a chain of pharmacies. We are aware that the digital market is going to transform the industry as it has transformed many others, so it would make more sense to adapt to digital changes rather than to keep opening more branches. One of the first migrations to the digitization of medical services is the implementation of the digital prescription. Two big changes for us happened six years ago when we began offering some of our products online and accepting credit card payments.

We are excited to announce that in the second half of 2020, we will launch Farmacia Paris’ e-commerce website offering 5,200 products from our catalog. We aim to reach every corner of Mexico City serving about 10 million people. Moreover, through Farmacia Paris’ e-commerce platform, we will be able to reach customers in the whole country.

Q: How would you describe the general state of the pharmaceutical sector in Mexico?

A: The pharmaceutical sector is changing its business model and so are the laboratories. In time, pharmacies as we know them will disappear and will be replaced by points of sale of mostly OTC products. Specialized products will be managed differently, which is why I do not think that opening more brick-and-mortar branches is the best option. Also, from a regulatory perspective, COFEPRIS will require an even more regulated point-of-sale.

Q: What are Farmacia París’ three main goals for 2020-2021?

A: Our focus is to continue to nurture our strong relationship with customers, suppliers and employees. Farmacia París will continue to offer brand-name, quality products, at the best price. For us creating and promoting a culture of prevention is imperative. We believe there is an opportunity to disrupt the sector by focusing on preventive medicine and on people’s well-being.

 

Farmacia París opened its doors in 1944. Since then, it has earned a reputation for selling brand-name, quality products, at the best price. Its catalog offers the widest range of products and services. Some of its divisions are pharmaceutics, homeopathy, compound formulas, orthopedics, surgical equipment, diabetes and dermatology.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst