In-Depth Analysis Of The Covid-19 Impact On The Philippines Pharmacy Retail Market
The global outbreak of Covid-19 virus has led to massive disruptions in all industries, especially the healthcare sector, testing the healthcare facilities of all the countries and caused major changes in the perception of health and fitness. The looming public health crisis has claimed over 660 thousand lives globally as of 28th July 2020 and apart from that, it continues to pose a threat to the lives, livelihoods, and businesses across the world.
The Philippines is in the top 30th worst Covid-19 hit countries in the world, with more than 83,000 cases as of 28th July 2020. The Philippines implemented one of the strictest and longest lockdown durations globally. On 16th March 2020, the Luzon Islands group was put on Absolute lockdown, and on 17th the state of calamity was declared nationwide. This lockdown was extended till June and after that different parts of the country were put under different regulations of lockdown depending on the number of cases on a regional level.
Philippines logged a GDP growth rate of -0.2% in the first quarter of 2020; this has happened for the first time in 22 years since 1988 that the Philippine economy has contracted. Tourism and Transportation were the worst affected sectors, only the services sector provided growth in the quarter. On the demand side, investments declined in the construction, durable production, and other sectors and private consumption were stagnant during the period.
Change in Consumer Attitude towards Health and Fitness: The Corona Virus Outbreak has forced the people to realize the importance of adopting health and fitness related activities in their daily lives. The people are making changes in their lifestyle and are becoming more accommodative to include different health beneficial activities. As per a survey, ~48% of people said that they will start exercising.
more frequently, ~80% said they have started consuming some Vitamins or Health Supplement Products, ~80% of people have started consuming nutritional food and drinking supplement, 88% started washing their hands more frequently and ~65% of people started using some Germ Preventive Product.
Government Making Regulation for Telemedicine and E-Prescriptions: In order to discourage people from going outside and reducing their visits to hospitals, the government of the Philippines has laid down regulations for usage of Telemedicine. It also made E-prescription a valid document and laid down regulations on how a patient can use these services for attaining medicines. The Department of Health is also partnering with different private entities in order to provide telemedicine services.
Corona Virus Impact on Pharmacy Operations: Pharmacies had to alter their operations in order to accommodate the new regulations being imposed in the country. No new major pharmacies started their operations due to lockdown. Majority of the pharmacies depending on the region had reduced their operational timings by 2-3 hours. Pharmacies which are located in malls had closed their stores in the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) area. The chain pharmacies had to update or implement new SOPs in order to accept E-Prescriptions. The lead time of delivery also increased significantly for online pharmacies. The pharmacies also witnessed supply chain issues due to the lockdown regulations. Also, in the past, the DOH had proactively cracked the operations of Ghost Pharmacies. The DOH is currently keeping a close tap on the operation of pharmacies in order to ensure that proper guidelines are being followed and no malpractices are happening in the industry.
Corona Virus Impact on Pharmacy Sales
The industry is expected to witness steady recovery from mid-2021 onwards and the sales volume reaching pre-COVID levels in the next few years. In the longer run, lubricant manufacturers are expected to shift towards online sales channels including e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces, and investing in an official online store, particularly for automotive lubricants, which accounts for the majority of the lubricants sales volume in the country. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, online buying is expected to dominate the buying preferences of consumers in the future. The market is having a high demand for generic medicines due to which new stores are focusing on generic medicine sales. Further, established chains such as TGP, Generika, Gamot Publiko have adopted the franchise model for store expansion. DOH has currently limited the option of online pharmacy to the pharmacies having physical stores, with the growth of telemedicine segment; we can expect some amendments in this rule which can help in easing the current situation of online pharmacy delivery. It is expected that the market will witness a CAGR of ~3.0% on the basis of revenue during 2019-2025F.