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August 2001 issue Pharmacy Today magazine


The Pharmacy Guild is selling its Pharmacy Expo rights to DMG World Media.
Guild chief executive Murray Burns wouldn't comment on the price as the deal wasn't finalised, however DMG's group manager Graham Soughtton said it would cost "several times the annual licensing fee".

The guild's expo involvement has decreased over recent years, but Murray Burns said there would still be strong guild support for the event.

"DMG have shown they can do it well. The essential character and philosophy of Expo won't change it will remain a trade show for the pharmacy sector," he says.

DMG has managed expo under licence from the guild for several years. Graham Soughtton says the purchase is merely a structural change that has no implications for the show. And it won't affect the exhibitor rates which are already at least 10% below those for similar sized annual trade shows.


Feedback from this year's Expo has been generally positive. The total number of visitors was up slightly from last year (1908 compared to 1903), and South Island attendance increased again this year (211 compared to 203).

The biggest jump was in the number of exhibitors 151 up from 122. They ranged from international pharmaceutical companies, to computer systems and management suppliers, and small gift companies.

Cork International (formerly Jan Wood) returned to expo this year after an absence of two years. Marketing manager Suzanne Ashwell, says the response to Cork's new products was fantastic.

"We had 10-11 people working our stand during the busy periods, and at times we still couldn't keep up. I don't think we can even put a value to the success of the show for us."

Theme applauded

The New Orleans theme was applauded by many exhibitors as a resounding success. Thompson Nutrition designed their stand to look like a Bourbon Street hotel, and it was outstanding.

"I am a great fan of themes. We got right behind it from the start, sending pharmacists a postcard and inviting them to redeem it for a jazz CD," says sales manager Bob Wells.

PSM's general manager of marketing Paul O'Brien, says the New Orleans theme was well done, but he would like to see expo moved to earlier in the year.

"Having expo in mid-June means we have three months to order materials from overseas, and are under pressure to manufacture products by September for the start of Christmas sales."

Beiersdorf's pharmacy market manager, Mark Robinson has been to every expo since its inception, and says this year's was a good show.

Numbers down

For other companies, expo wasn't as rewarding as previous years. Douglas Pharmaceuticals' pharmacy prescription sales manager, Regan Cooper says since 1999 the number of pharmacists visiting their stand has decreased by about 100 every year.

Sales in dollar terms were down 30%, and if this continues next year, the company will seriously reconsider its participation.

Regan Cooper would like to see more pharmaceutical companies supporting expo, and not just as a "handshaking exercise". He says expo is an excellent opportunity to do business.

Other exhibitors, including Balmar Distributing reported a decline in customer numbers and orders. However, Balmar's Phil Bourne said the overall success of expo couldn't be judged on orders written over the weekend. He believes the PR exercise with customers is also important.

BDM Grange reported fewer customers too, but said those who did attend, were there to buy.

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