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Pharmacity

The first "convenient pharmacy" concept in Vietnam

Chris Blank - The CEO of Pharmacity

Chris Blank, the CEO and co-founder

In 2008, while working at Ho Chi Minh Securities Corporation (HSC), Chris Blank, noticed how often Vietnamese people decided to turn to pharmacists at traditional pharmacies for their medical aid instead of seeing a professional doctor. As such, a good and reliable supply of pharmaceuticals would be extremely helpful for local people.

A few years later, with the nationwide surge of electronics supermarkets and convenience stores, he realized that the adoption of such a modern commerce model in Vietnam would bring a good and reliable supply of pharmaceuticals for local people.

Therefore, in 2011, Chris Blank and his two colleagues from HSCdecided to build Pharmacity as the first cutting-edge retail pharmacy chain in Vietnam. All items at the stores are sourced directly from authorized distributors and manufacturers—rather than through wholesalers or informal traders —to serve customers with the highest quality and authentic products.

The challenges began

Pharmacity store

In the first few years, there was no existing example in Vietnam of how to start up a modern pharmacy chain. Pharmacity was the pioneer in an exotic landscape dominated by traditional and informal shops.

Moreover, at the initial stage of growth, Pharmacity was not large enough to leverage economies of scale. For instance, their relatively small order quantities could not qualify them to buy direct from manufacturers and thus, delivering the best bargains for their customers.

It was not easy for a start-up to quickly expand and gain market share while simultaneously ensuring its bottom line. The pressures grew day by day: rental costs, inventory, staff training, salary, to name a few.

Building a solid foundation

However, it was in those moments that Chris Blank kept his team focused on the big game. With a strong commitment to the future, the team kept moving, making the most of their own experiences, and continuously learning from the challenges.

More importantly, through each day, those challenges made each person become a better version of himself or herself. And those better versions became the perfect link for the effective operation of the Pharmacity machine.

Chris Blank (middle) and two of his leaders
Chris Blank (middle) and two of his leaders

Unlocking transformations

During this time, Chris Blank also discovered the impact of his leadership. He wanted his team to coordinate and trust each other as a high-performance team. So he reflected on his experience and realized that the key to vigorous growth started with integrity and transparency in the operating system. Therefore, he decided to set ‘Integrity’ to be one of the core values for Pharmacity’s foundation and development.

When ‘Integrity’ was enabled, it boosted workability organization-wide as the network of conversations was open and trustworthy, with every team member committed to honoring their words for their results.

They traveled the world visiting dozens of pharmacy chains and meeting with leading executives. They started deploying digital transformation to optimize systems as the business scaled up.

Pharmacity service

To generate fruitful results

A decade since its establishment, Pharmacity has achieved its original goal of a convenient pharmacy concept, which helps customers save their time and efforts to select and purchase their desired products without geographic limitations. It is now the biggest state-of-the-art pharmacy chain operating more than 634 stores nationwide (as of 30 Sep 2021).

Shopping in the stores, you will experience supportive pharmacists who have the outstanding product knowledge and consultation skills.

By the end of 2025, the company aims to open 5,000 stores throughout Vietnam, allowing 50 percent of the population access to a Pharmacity store within a 10-minute drive. In the next five years, the company aims to develop a healthcare ecosystem, integrating its traditional retail business with primary medical services, insurance products, and healthcare services.

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