BENJAMIN LIUSON: He has made it his mission to cut down the price of the medicines he sells.
Building a business in non-branded products may seem counter-intuitive, but not for The Generics Pharmacy (TGP) Franchising Corp.
TGP has its roots in the Pacific Insular Co., which was established by German nationals in 1949. The company imported and sold pharmaceutical products wholesale to drugstores and hospitals, among others. In 1960, the company was bought by the parents of Benjamin Liuson, who is now the company president. The name of the company name was changed to Pacific Pharmaceutical Generics Inc. in 1999, and two years later, in 2001, Liuson's parents went into retail sales by putting up DLI Pharmacy.
After over 40 years of wholesaling and seven years of retailing, Liuson decided that the business was ready to
take the franchising route. Thus, in the first half of 2007, Liuson started offering franchises for The Generics Pharmacy, offering solely generic medicine products at low prices. Its first franchised outlet opened that same year on Taft Avenue corner Protacio Street in Pasay City.
Since then, TGP has opened over 100 franchised outlets, some of them breaking even as early as on their third month of operation. By the end of the 2008, Liuson hopes to hit the 200-outlet mark.
"TGP has experienced tremendous success," says Liuson. For this reason, he has made it his mission to cut down the price of the medicines he sells. This was even before the legal mandate for it came in the form of the Cheaper Medicines Act of May 2008.
Aside from giving the mandatory 20 percent discount for senior citizen purchases, TGP also offers free medical checkups to senior citizens. "Hindi ko ma-imagine na marami ang bumibili ng isang tableta lamang ng gamot araw-araw dahil sa sobrang mahal [I couldn't imagine that some people buy only one medicine tablet a day because the high prices prevent them from buying the prescribed number of tablets they need]," he adds.
Liuson says the success of TGP is also due to the different way it operates its pharmacies. To begin with, it gives its franchisees an equal chance of opening outlets, thus minimizing competition among them. And since it doesn't employ agents, it saves itself the costs of product sampling and commissions. The company makes profits simply from its wholesale operation, allowing franchisees to keep most of the profits at the retail end.
TGP's products are all generic, unlike other pharmaceutical outlets whose product composition is usually 90 percent branded and 10 percent generics. The company can thus sell at very low prices. For instance, TGP sells paracetamol at only P0.50 apiece as compared to P3 in most drug stores.
A Generics Pharmacy franchise requires an investment of about P600,000, inclusive of the franchising fee, the cost of renovation, the POS (point-of-sales) system, and an initial operating capital of about P250,000. The royalty fee is 1 percent of total gross sales.
Franchise applicants can choose from two franchise options: solo or express, and tandem or in-store. The solo or express franchise is for outlets located near markets, hospitals, big drugstores, or inside shopping malls. The tandem or in-store franchise, on the other hand, is for outlets located inside medical clinics, convenience stores, supermarkets, groceries, department stores, or cosmetic store.
TIPS FOR PUTTING UP A GENERIC MEDICINE OUTLET:
TGP's Benjamin Liuson offers the following tips to franchisees and other pharmacies offering generic medicine:
- Find locations with high foot traffic, such as hospitals, schools, and public markets.
- Maintain the good quality and the low price of your products.
- Don't encourage drug sampling, considering that the medicines are already priced low.
- Maintain only a maximum of two pharmacists to lessen accountabilities on lost items.
- Have a manageable counter with all the medicines stocked in it.
- Don't create a complicated organizational structure as it might just entail additional costs anddissipate profits.
THE GENERICS PHARMACY
459 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
For franchise inquiries:
2809 Jollibee Plaza, F. Ortigas
Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telephones: (02) 638-3140 to 50;
(02) 910-6544 to 45