December 2001 issue Pharmacy Today magazine
NEW PHARMACY GROUP
A new pharmacy merchandising group is up and running in Auckland, masterminded by one of the pharmacists who established the PPS buying group.
The Four Seasons group, set up by Pakuranga pharmacist Grahame Hamblin, aims to give pharmacists more choice and independence about the stock they buy.
Four Seasons is designed to be non-supplier driven. He said the big pharmacy groups are tied into protocols and rules, which he feels limits product choice, and means the public lose out. The new group allows pharmacies to maintain their independence, while offering competitive pricing. An added advantage is that there is no joining fee.
Twelve pharmacies across Auckland have joined the group so far, and Grahame Hamblin would like the numbers to grow to about 20. The group includes several Care Chemist pharmacies and independents.
The Four Seasons group does not have in-store signage or branding - they are simply a merchandising group. A quarterly newspaper is distributed by mail drop, in minimum quantities of 5000 per pharmacy. Grahame Hamblin single-handedly negotiates the buying, and puts together the newspaper. Each pharmacy individualises their newspaper with their name and a cover article.
Suppliers are not charged for listings - in return, they provide their product information for the newspaper, and take care of individualised billing, distribution and the cost of freight to each pharmacy. Grahame Hamblin said the response from suppliers has been excellent.
The big difference from the original PPS buying group is that the suppliers have taken over stock distribution and billing. PPS, along with Pharmacycare, has been absorbed into the Vantage group.
The first Four Seasons newspaper was distributed in July, and one pharmacy reportedly sold more than 500 units of Cartia, in response to the mailout.
Grahame Hamblin's Pakuranga pharmacy celebrated its 40th birthday last month.
The pharmacy staff had plenty of birthday cake, spot prizes and lucky draws to give away during a week of celebration.
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