Friday, September 15, 2006

Local drug stores gear up to face the competition

Rediff Money reports:

With the impending entry of major industry houses like Reliance Retail, Pantaloon and Fortis in the organized pharmacy trade, local drug stores are trying to organize themselves to face the competition. As a first step, the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists with 600,000 members is registering itself as a company.

Fortis will be opening 500 stores across the country under the Health World Ltd. brand. The stores are likely to be large format stores similar to US pharma chains such as CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. Some of the expansions that existing companies are doing are Apollo Hospitals expansion to 1,500 stores and Morepen’s investment of Rs. 350 million to increase its Lifespring stores from 10 to 70.

Other companies that are entering pharma retail are Zydus Cadila and Himalaya Drugs. Existing players such as Medicine Shoppe, Lifeken, Global Healthline’s 98.4 degrees, CRS Health, Health Glow are already in the market but pale in comparison to the mega bucks that new companies will be investing in setting up their pharma chains.

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