Planet Pharmacy LLC, a Dubai-based pharmacy retailer, is set to launch 250 pharmacies across the United Arab Emirates and over 500 in Saudi Arabia by 2012, making it the largest pharmacy chain in the Middle East.
The company, which is a joint venture between Julphar and the private equity division of Global Investment House, will open pharmacies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi by December this year.
The pharmacies, to be named Health First, will be launched with the objective of growing to be the market leader in the pharmaceutical retail business across the region.
John Makepeace, Chief Executive of Planet Pharmacy, said: "Planet Pharmacy and its Health First stores have a vision of becoming the biggest and most trusted pharmacy brand in the Middle East within the next three years."
"Our goal is to deliver the highest level of care possible to our customers whilst striving to lift the overall standards of the industry across the region."
Planet Pharmacy has been running a test store in Fujeirah since the beginning of the year, with the market research gained from this outlet providing vital consumer information and feedback which will be implemented into stores across the region over the coming months. The company has already started its operations with 130 pharmacies and clinics under various names which will eventually be combined under
the Health First umbrella.
By the end of this year, up to10 Health First outlets will have launched in the UAE and also test outlets in Saudi Arabia. Planet Pharmacy's retail offer will include a mix of prescription and over the counter drugs, cosmetics and other health and hygiene products.
Stores will also provide value added services such as skin care advice, information on medicines, prescription filling services, tie-ups with insurance providers and in some cases there will be 24-hour pharmacies providing round-the-clock care.
"Our main aim to begin with will be to build trust in the communities in which we are a part of and serve," said Mr. Makepeace, who brings with him over 20 years experience in the pharmacy industry in the UK and Canada.
"We want to establish long-term relationships with our customers and create a situation where there are repeat visits from our customers who know and trust us."
"Whilst we will be providing advice and support on health issues such as Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma and nutrition, we also see ourselves quickly becoming a critical link in the chain when it comes to the local community's overall healthcare needs and requirements."
Planet Pharmacy's growth strategy will involve both acquisitions and organic growth, with the company having already identified opportunities and potential acquisition targets in GCC countries, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait and Jordan. The GCC however will receive priority for expansion over the next 12 months.