The Retail Scientist Blog

The Retail Scientist Blog

Pharmacy sector crisis

Dec 2, 2022 | Articles

Community pharmacists and their staff have been silently suffering from burn-out as a result of a “perfect storm” of business disruption for which there appears to be no easy solution.

Here’s my recent article for the Pharmacy Guild of NZ summarising the last two years based on my experience working with 200 pharmacy owners.


While the entire health workforce has struggled to cope with Covid-19 the pharmacy sector has suffered a triple-whammy due to:

  1. Corporate discount pharmacy chains
  2. Acute staff shortages
  3. Increased complexity due to the emailing of prescriptions


These factors have come on top of years of under-funding of the core dispensing function by DHBs (now Health NZ) that has eroded pharmacy profitability to the point where pharmacy owners have been forced to reduce their quality and service – or face closure.

Fighting back

Over 100 pharmacy-owners have funded the ICPG led by Clive Cannons of Clive’s Chemist in Wainuiomata to take a case to the High Court seeking to address the way DHBs have granted new pharmacy contracts to corporate pharmacy groups such as Countdown.

This judgement may not be available until March 2023 – but let’s hope that this signals the start of a fight back from the pharmacy sector to make their business needs more visible and widely known…. before it is too late.