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A New Challenge for Pharmacies

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 09/23/2020 - 13:39

After pharmacies moved from being points of sale to medical attention facilities, their business model had to change to respond to the new requirements. This decision has meant increasing primary healthcare provision in many isolated zones of Mexico and is seen as a big step for inclusive attention options due to its accessible prices, which can go around MX$20 (US$1.02) to MX$50 (US$2.54). According to the Ministry of Health. By 2019, Mexico had 16,000 pharmacy-adjacent doctor’s offices.

During an interview with MBN, Santiago González, President of ANADIM, explained that despite their decade of existence, pharmacy-adjacent offices still face prominent recognition challenges. González divided the benefits of such facilities in three key points:

  1. The country has a more robust primary healthcare network to support the public system thanks to the proximity of pharmacies and their availability in almost any location in the country.
  2. These consultations, as well as prescriptions, are accessible to the patient.
  3. They are quality services comparable to any other consultation.

Pharmacies and medicine retailers such as Walmart have adapted tools to boost their competitiveness and offer quality services for patients. After 10 years of integrating this offering into the market, pharmacies now face the digitalization challenge.

When speaking of this concept, it is common to relate it to a virtual catalog where patients can select and order their medicines. While this is in fact the very first step, many pharmacies still want to integrate doctor consultations in these digital practices.

For instance, Farmacos Proasse’s Director General Francisco Cantú explained during an interview with MBN how the company has been integrating technology to their practices. “We have created an online webpage that ensures our digital market is as strong as our physical points of sale and the platform allows all kinds of interactions for product orders.” Cantú further explained that through the platform, the company has been able to develop close relations with its clients, being able to attend their concerns through a customer service option in the platform.

Moving on to service integration, MBN spoke with online pharmacy Farmalisto, which is going beyond medicine sales through the integration of telemedicine and digital prescription services. During an interview with MBN, José Crespo, CEO of Farmalisto Mexico, mentioned how the company is moving toward this integration. “Right now, we are looking for a digital prescription creator to complement our platform. Additionally, we want to expand our services and deliver attention services like physiotherapy, nanotheraphy or speech therapy. Also, incorporating telemedicine services would be a boost to our offering.”

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst