Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist March 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist March 2015 I © Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
S3s have not been ignored by everyone.
What Bruce Annabel calls ‘the progressive
owners’ have been working on developing
their S3 business for years.
He said: ‘The manufacturers see S3 as being
a graveyard because their products are
poked out the back and assistants find it
much easier to recommend S2s. Therefore
S3s are not used anywhere near where
they could be. The progressive pharmacists
are using S3s extremely well and getting
‘You can get a very strong margin out of
S3 medicines. They are a massive, massive
opportunity for pharmacies and a big part
of the answer to how to deal with price
disclosure. S3 should generate a gross
profit of 55% to 60% because they are
advice driven (by the pharmacists and the
margin is how they get paid), offer health
solutions, are the pharmacists’ product
and are not available in supermarkets,’
Mr Annabel said.
This is music to Deon Schoombie’s ears.
Mr Schoombie, Executive Director of the
Australian Self Medication Industry which
represents companies involved in the
manufacture and distribution of consumer
healthcare products, told Australian
Pharmacist that around the industry S3 is
known as a pharmaceutical cemetery.
sensitive topic. One of our position papers
said the S3 category is completely and
totally under-utilised – sub optimal,’ he said.
However, he hastened to add that ASMI has
retracted a little bit on that but not because
of a lack of evidence.
‘ There is no single explanation why S3 has
not reached the full potential that it could
or should,’ he said.
One reason Mr Schoombie gave is what
pharmacists are doing, or not doing, in
the community pharmacy setting. He
highlighted Nick Logan as one pharmacy
owner ‘who performs miracles with S3s.
He is quite inspiring talking about the
potential of S3s.’
Last year Nick Logan from Pharmacist
Advice Artarmon in Sydney and Reckitt
Benckiser launched Pharmacy Forward,*
a training program for S3 products based
on Mr Logan’s experiences in building up
the S3 category in his pharmacy.
He told Australian Pharmacist that
pharmaceutical companies see the S3
department as a black hole in community
pharmacy where products go to be never
heard of again.
‘Good quality S3 training reinforces the
three pronged benefits of embracing this
‘Firstly, the consumer benefits from being
introduced to a more effective product.
Second the business benefits from
the loyalty generated by professional
interaction and the sale of a product
(or products) with a larger margin,
and third, our staff find the process
professionally satisfying,’ Mr Logan said.
Mr Logan said that the Pharmacy Forward
program has shown him that respecting
and nurturing the S3 department is
an efficient way to start offsetting the
profitability damage from accelerated
‘The trial pharmacies increased their gross
profit dollars by 22% across the entire S3
department by focusing on five categories.
In my pharmacy it meant we clawed back
almost $15,000 in net profit.
‘Rolling out rostered management of
the entire S3 (and S2) schedules would
go a long way to restoring a pharmacy’s
viability,’ he said.
Mr Logan is not the only pharmacy owner
actively building the S3 area.
West Australian pharmacist owner Linda
Keane has been actively growing the S3
section at her Dunsborough pharmacy
south of Perth (about 50 km north-west of
She told Australian Pharmacist: ‘We are
developing the S2/S3 category. We are
doing what I think most pharmacies
are doing to combat price disclosure,
• Having a consulting front-of-shop
style pharmacist to deal with product
• Training up staff in all types of
companion selling not only S2/S3
• Keeping a wide range of brands in the
‘My front of shop pharmacist definitely
gets more job satisfaction than the script
checking pharmacist and puts himself
forward for that role on any day he can –
so that’s a tick to professionally rewarding.
‘As for financially that is harder to say.
Our S2/S3 category is growing but we are
still showing growth overall in turnover
compared to most other pharmacies,’
*The Pharmacy Forward program is available free online at: www.rbhealthhub.com.au.
The S3 dead duck scenario is not just
a result of pharmacy not grasping the
S3 opportunity. ASMI believes that
another contributing factor is the present
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