AYALA HEALTHCARE Holdings, Inc.’s (AC Health) Generika Drugstore is looking at expanding its store network to 1,000 by 2025, from its current network of 750 outlets.

“This will be in Visayas and Mindanao because the need is also as big there. What we are banking on are the franchisors from Visayas and Mindanao. We will try to open where we can,” Generika President Josette Adrienne A. Abarca said in an interview on Friday.

“We try to make sure that around 10% of our store network will be company-owned. So out of the 1,000, around 100 will be company-owned,” she said, adding that most of the new drugstores will be through franchises. 

To date, the drugstore has around 750 stores in its network nationwide, which was just around 521 stores in 2015 before it became part of AC Health.

According to Ms. Abarca, the franchise package of a Generika drugstore costs around P800,000. It is a member of the Philippine Franchising Association.

However, she said drugstores like Generika face a lack of skilled workers to support their network expansion.

“It is a requirement for every drugstore to have one pharmacist. So if you will open more stores, of course, you will need more pharmacists,” she said.

She added the shortage has become a problem as some pharmacy graduates tend to go abroad, just like the Filipino nurses.

“Meanwhile, others who would go to a medical profession do not take pharmacy, so we need to keep up with the demand for pharmacists,” she said.

To address this, Ms. Abarca said the Department of Health has been partnering with companies like AC Health and educational institutions to put up scholarship programs to encourage more students to enroll. — Justine Irish D. Tabile