Magazine article Drug Topics

Medicine Shoppe Sees International Boom

Magazine article Drug Topics

Medicine Shoppe Sees International Boom

Article excerpt

A part from developments on the domestic front, Medicine Shoppe has found a growing franchise market in other countries, especially in Pacific Rim nations such as Malaysia and Taiwan.

Since Medicine Shoppe opened its first overseas franchise in March 1992, in Taiwan, the momentum has grown in that area of the world, said Tim Hardy, v.p. of international franchising, Medicine Shoppe International, St. Louis, Mo.

In the past year alone, about 50 new franchises opened abroad, raising the total to 159 franchises. They are distributed as follows:

By the year 2000, Medicine Shoppe hopes to have opened 400-450 international franchise drugstores.

U.S. drugstore chains have not entered many of these markets so far, Hardy noted. He pointed out that the development of a franchise is less risky and less capital-intensive for an investor already in the business in another country than is the development of a U.S. chain drugstore presence fully developed and financed from the United States. The only other drugstore chains he has seen taking on the international market are a few Hong Kong-based chains and Boots, based in the United Kingdom, which has been preparing to introduce its drugstores to Thailand.

Most new international business has come from prospective franchisees approaching Medicine Shoppe, he explained. In many countries there is a growing interest in Western-style pharmacies as the presence of Western medicine grows there. The Western pharmacies are especially appealing to younger Asians, he said.

In Taiwan, in particular, new support for Medicine Shoppe's 80 pharmacies has come from recent legislation requiring that physicians no longer dispense the drugs they prescribe, effective in March 1997. Meanwhile, the government has been developing a new national health-care program.

For the most part, the same Medicine Shoppe format seems to work well in most countries, although small variations are required to adjust for the demands of the local market, Hardy observed. …

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