ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Healthguard branded pharmacies are generating margins to make the chain viable with ‘beauty and wellness’ products instead of depending on prescribed drugs alone, the chain’s owning company said.
Sri Lanka’s private businesses had built and extensive pharmacy network making drugs easily accessible in rural areas.
Some analysts warn that price controls by a newly established new drug authority on a blue print originally devised during Marxian-ideology dominated 1970s when such policies brought the people were brought to their knees, may threaten the viability of those pharmacies.
When patients and their carers travel further to buy a drug, their extra costs of acquisitions in terms of work hours lost and travel expenses could be far higher than the drug itself.
Some pharmacies operated by private citizens also deliver drugs to sick people for a small fee, which older people living alone find convenient.
Sunshine Holdings, owners of the Healthguard pharmacy chian said its flagship store was re-launched and has ‘stabilized operations’ with an increase in margins with more ‘Beauty and Wellness’ sales compared to prescribed pharma.
Sri Lanka’s pharmacies, like their counterparts in free countries are already selling goods other than drugs to be viable.
Sri Lanka’s phamaceuticals market is extremely competitive with patients how having a choice of multiple pharmacies in even relatively small towns.
A key reason for rising drug prices over the years is the money printing by the Central Bank, which depreciates the currency and makes prices of all goods, including non-pharmaceuticals like food to go up and put sick people in multiple difficulties.
The Central Bank has created ‘foreign exchange shortages’ from shortly after its inception, destroyed the currency and generated high inflation, by manipulating interest rates with direct budget deficit financing and re-financing rural credit.
Profiteering businesses are in the meantime trying to set up ‘domestic production’ unit amid the monetary fire, and are asking for various privileges from the state. (Colombo/Nov11/2015)