Flight of Pharma retail from
unorganised to organised
Tags: retail, Indian pharmacy retail, Guardian Pharmacy, Reliance, Apollo Pharmacy, Life
Spring, Viva, MedPlus, LifeKen
BY Rita G Chauhan | November 02, 2012 | comments ( 55 ) |
Pharma retail is taking organised route in India, with the emergence of large number of
organised players that are expanding via franchising. Are these organised players going
to change the face of Indian pharmacy retail? Read on to explore.
With the emergence of several organised pharmacy retail chains, this sector has witnessed
tremendous growth of franchise business opportunities for interested investors. Ownership of
pharmacy franchise can be an ideal choice for those who would like to partner with recognised
brand name. However, the key to success of this business include the brand name of the
product, service, image and professional methods to satisfy a consumer. Both domestic and
foreign pharma players have fair share in Indian pharma market.
As per report by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), the Indian
pharmaceutical market posted annual sales of Rs 53.69 billion in fiscal 2011-2012. There are
approximately 700,000 pharma retail outlets, out of these only 20 to 30 per cent is from all the
organised retail companies and rest is dominated by traditional/local chemists. Modern pharmacy
market has seen a significant growth with large scale investments made by Indian pharma
companies in the past few years. Whereas the recent govt decision to liberalise foreign direct
investment (FDI) in the retail sector will open doors for many international players to set up
pharmacy retail chains via different business models including franchising. There are plenty of
opportunities for the pharmacy players to grow in Indian market.
Indian pharma industry is showing a strong upward trajectory. As per estimates, presently the
Indian pharmaceutical market is US $ 11 billion and it is expected to touch US $ 74 billion (in
sales) by 2020. This growth has been fuelled by increase in the average income levels, changing
disease profiles towards chronic disorders and raising awareness for healthcare. The pharma
retailers are seeking expansion of their urban network and rural penetration.
Attractive margins and discounts provided to consumers and the value proposition offered by
supermarkets and malls are driving the growth of organised pharmacy retail chains in the
Pharma sector gets more organised
At present Indian pharma sector is relatively unorganised. With entry of branded pharma retail
chains the industry is expected to get more and more organised in the future. At present, there
are a few big players such as Guardian Lifecare’s (Guardian Pharmacy), Ranbaxy’s (Fortis),
Reliance Retail’s (Reliance Health and Pharma), Apollo Hospitals Group’s (Apollo Pharmacy),
Zydus Cadilla’s (Dial for Health), Morepan’s (Life Spring), Surya Pharmaceutical (Viva), Lifetime
Healthcare’s (LifeKen), MedPlus who dominate the organised pharmacy retailing.
Key players in pharma franchising
Some of the above mentioned companies have opted for franchise business model for retailing
their products. As these brands continue to expand their retail presence across India via
franchising, they look for competent franchise partners for the same. Offering excellent business
opportunities for interested investors, these brands are ensuring high degree customer and
A subsidiary of Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd is India’s first and largest branded pharmacy
network, with over1500 store across India. It is accredited with International Quality Certification.
An Apollo pharmacy franchisee who fulfils all the financial requirements and other qualifications
as per the company’s franchisee qualification criteria can expect ample training and support that
will provide complete know how of pharmacy retail business.
This Pharmacy chain is promoted by pharma player Ranbaxy. It operates both company owned
stores as well as franchisee owned stores. Currently the company is planning to set up more
than 900 stores across the country by the end of this year. The potential franchisee will need an
area of about 500 sq ft along with an investment of more than Rs 50 lakh for each outlet. A
franchisee can also avail added services like diagnostic facilities, free home delivery services,
healthcare products etc with additional investment.
MedPlus Health Services
MedPlus health Services operates a chain of retail pharmacies has more than 980 pharmacies
throughout India. It offers an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking for a lowcost franchise business. Currently, the company is seeking franchisees in the tier III and tier IV
towns across India.
Thulasi Pharmacies, started in the year 2001 presently has 29 branches, including franchised
stores, in several cities across southern India. It aims to become the market leader in southern
India by 2015 and a nationwide pharmacy chain by 2020.
It is a brand of Global Healthline and operates in Delhi /NCR region. With franchise model in
place, it expects to have as many as 300-400 stores by 2014.
Owned by Surya Pharma, Viva Pharmacy entered the organised retail space in the healthcare
domain through a chain of chemist stores under the brand name Viva. Initially the company
opened company owned stores, now it is extending the network through franchisee owned
The Indian pharma retail market is considered significantly big market but still it has tremendous
scope to grow in the future. Currently, there are only 20-30 percent organised pharmacy retail
chains in India and most of them exist in the urban areas. There is still a wide gap between
demand and supply of pharma products, especially in tier II and rural areas. Thus, it provides a
huge scope for pharmacy retailers to expand their distribution channels across the length and
breadth of the country, to rake in more profits.
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