Regional Specialization Secures SuccessWed, 06/19/2019 - 15:26
Q: How relevant is the role of Mexican pharmacies in providing quality pharmaceutical and health services?
A: It is all about training and sharing knowledge on new medications, new protocols and new information regarding health conditions. We maintain good communication and relationships with laboratories that study conditions and develop new products. In our training programs for employees, we ensure we are up to date with the newest releases in the field. At the same time, we are implementing a service protocol that addresses all interactions between the employee and the patient, including welcoming the customer, asking their name, and even giving advice on savings they can make with particular purchases. It is always about finding new openings to improve your service.
Q: How would you describe the general status of medicine sales in Mexico?
A: The market is very competitive. With chronic diseases like diabetes on the rise, consumption also is increasing. Many people are looking to treat and cure their conditions. Large chains, such as Benavides, Guadalajara and Ahorro, have many points of sale in comparison with independent pharmacies with a more local reach. Every local pharmacy is competing with a big national network. This is challenging because their volume of business can never reach that of large chains. We are a medium-sized player with 40 points of sale and are pushing to compete with bigger players.
Big networks can maintain slightly lower prices for certain medications, with a difference of two or three pesos. But one of our main differentiators is our service and the quality of our people. Another is how we provide for the specific needs of each patient. We always work to get the patient the particular medication they want. If we do not have it, we can order it. Building a personal relationship and being there for them is very important.
Q: What mechanisms or strategies could the private and public sectors implement to reduce medication sales on the black market?
A: There is a need for mechanisms to verify the source of the medication, which must also be applied at a digital level for e-commerce. At the end of the day, consumers want to know that their medication is safe and comes from a well-regulated point of sale.
Q: How has your business strategy evolved in response to the growing number of e-commerce companies and startups?
A: We do not have an e-commerce platform but we are working on it. Platforms like Amazon are growing rapidly and other sectors, such as clothing and retail, have integrated them much faster. We are looking at a way to enter a collaboration with delivery service Rappi. The company is strong in the food-delivery sector and it is already working with pharmacies, such as San Pablo. This kind of collaboration offers a great opportunity to reach our clients.
Q: Which new services would you highlight as game-changers in the market?
A: I think one of the important areas of interest is psychological well-being. We know right now that the rhythm of life in big cities can affect people’s mental health. This is an area where we can provide answers through consultations and follow-ups. Elements such as workplace pressures and fast-paced activities are related to conditions like gastritis and many mental issues. It would be good to have a program to guide people, giving advice and working toward prevention.
Q: What are Farmacias Purex’s main goals for 2019?
A: Our plan for the second half of 2019 is to open four or five new pharmacies in Victoria, Tamaulipas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila. We are not moving to other regions. We participate in a pharmacy association in which each chain has agreed to focus on a particular geographical zone and we have decided to respect the areas of other members. We are present in Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. We also have a pharmacy in Mexico City, but this for subrogation reasons. We also plan to remodel our pharmacies to create a pleasant environment and to provide excellent service.