Pharmacity's new CEO shares how company navigates transformation period

April 26, 2024 | 14:00
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Undergoing a period of transformation, Pharmacity is re-shaping its business around a wide range of medicine and healthcare offerings that will offer significant benefits to its consumers. Deepanshu Madan, Pharmacity’s new CEO, tells VIR's Thanh Van how the company is navigating through this period to cement its position as the leading pharmacy chain in the country.
Pharmacity's new CEO shares how company navigates transformation period
Deepanshu Madan: We lost our way, but are now back and ready to serve you

Pharmacity used to be the market leader but seems to have lost its way during the last year. Why is this?

It is well known that over the last eighteen months, Pharmacity has gone through a period of transformation. Our service was lacking as we priced poorly and failed to keep our shelves properly stocked.

We were disappointed by our performance, especially as we know we can deliver better for our customers. We have worked hard over the last four months to bring back the product offerings our customers deserve and put in place an entirely new plan with Vietnamese customers as the focal point of our business. We have also spent time listening to our customers, hearing directly from them what they want. We are proud of the changes we are making at Pharmacity as a result of this process, and believe we are well on the way to restoring full service to our customers.

What are some of the things that you think Pharmacity has got wrong?

Simply put, we did not make sure that our stores always stocked the right medicines in the right quantities, and our pricing strategy was not in line with the market.

We have turned this situation around and focused on getting the right medicines in our stores with emphasis on fulfilling prescriptions. If you come to our stores today, you will see a full range of medicines which has been designed by speaking with leading healthcare experts and doctors to tailor these offerings for our consumers. We have spent the last four months designing a training and consultation curriculum for our pharmacists to offer world-class health advice to our customers and offer not one but several options and alternatives based on affordability but still, best-in-class quality.

Many consumers viewed us as a “convenient pharmacy” which lacks specialized prescription medicine. When customers come back to our stores, they will see that we now have a very large offering of medicines that cover top hospital prescriptions and every disease in Vietnam. We are firmly positioned as the leading medicine provider for every disease and will continue to expand deeper into innovative medicine in the coming months.

A good example is our updated range of medications for cardiovascular, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, liver, and several other categories that affect the general population of Vietnam. We know that these chronic diseases impact many people in Vietnam, rich and poor alike. That is why we have reassessed the treatment options we stock and restructured our pricing. Now, for example, our diabetes treatment options start from VND1,000 ($0.039) per day so that all patients can find the help they need at Pharmacity.

We are a pharmacy for the Vietnamese family and a service provider for whenever our customers need us. We are building a culture at Pharmacity to live and breathe this. We aspire to offer medicine and healthcare supplements for every disease and lifestyle disorder that impact the people of Vietnam.

Pharmacity's new CEO shares how company navigates transformation period
Pharmacity strives to regain customers’ trust with quality services and reputable products

Even so, many people say they find Pharmacity pricier than other outlets. What can you tell me about that?

It is true that we did not keep proper track of pricing in our stores versus those elsewhere in the market. As a result, in the past, Pharmacity was often the most expensive option.

This should not have been the case. It is critically important in healthcare for medicine to be affordable. In addition to this, as a pharmacy we have a duty to provide access to healthcare for all. That’s why we have adjusted our pricing policies and changed our mindset. We now offer products across a range of price points and believe we are uniquely positioned to continue to offer our customers different pricing options.

Over the last four months we have adjusted our pricing on over 1,000 medicines, bringing prices down significantly so they are now more affordable than the thousands of local pharmacies. We believe we are now extremely competitive, using the advantage of our scale to secure the best price points on quality products for our customers in a way that few others can. We are determined to stick with this approach to ensure our customers get what they want.

Discounting in the industry has become fierce. How can you stay competitive?

We are not focused on the sort of competition that many others in the market are. We believe instead that our job is to offer the best products at the right price points and also ensure the highest quality of medicine. Yes, we will offer very competitive pricing, but we will always put the welfare of our customers first. If we do not believe that something is good for our customers or does not have proven benefits, we shall not offer it. Rather, we will educate and spread awareness using our vast resources to bring better healthcare options to everyone.

This is demonstrated by the fact that Pharmacity stores have been designed around a closed door, air-conditioned, and convenient layout. This allows us to store medicine at the right temperature as required both by law, and to maintain product quality. This is all a part of the modern approach to retail pharmacy which we have long championed in Vietnam, and which we believe is more important than discounting.

Even where we have selected open-door stores, we have installed sophisticated air curtains and employ log tags to ensure our customers get the highest quality medicine. We will never jeopardise our obligations to product quality or to the law. We believe that this too can be a form of competitive advantage.

Pharmacity's new CEO shares how company navigates transformation period
Customers can rest assured with all healthcare product options at Pharmacity

What can you tell us about the shareholders’ views of the company?

The view of the shareholders is very simple. Pharmacity is the right platform and business model to serve the people of Vietnam. We have a unique offering combining medicines, vitamins/minerals/supplements, and health/beauty – all in one format. Our shareholders are backing us fully, and we are creating a business that will be sustainable long into the future. Together, we are here to stay, grow, and win. We are all excited about Pharmacity’s future prospects. Most of all, we are excited to make a difference for Pharmacity’s customers today.

Customer trust can take a long time to regain. What else do you have planned to persuade them to come back to Pharmacity?

We have launched or are about to launch many initiatives to try to regain the trust of our customers and justify them giving us another chance. Over the coming weeks you will be hearing much more from Pharmacity about the changes we have made in-store to serve all our customers better. I’m looking forward to providing these updates and showing the Vietnamese people how we have changed.

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By Thanh Van

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