Pharmacy starts trial sales of infant formula
Some pharmacies initiate trial sales of infant formula, a move to develop a newsales channel which is being promoted by government policy.
pharmacies, infant formula, LBX Pharmacy, GSP, sales channel, management systemHistorically,
China’s pharmacies have not sold infant formula. This reflected a regulatory
situation in which they needed a Pharmaceutical Trade License from the local Food and Drug Administrations, while retailers selling food required a Food Circulation Permit from localgovernment. Few applied for both, especially as Chinese consumers were accustomed tobuying infant formula from supermarkets. Recently, though, some pharmacies have started tosell infant formula in some cities, such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Qingdao. However, thereare still obstacles in the development of this channel. A case in point is LBX Pharmacy, a well known national pharmacy chain, which held an eventon 10 July to formally announce that it is focusing on promoting formula sales. The chain hasestablished special counters for infant formula in 3 of its flagship stores in Guangzhou;10brands of infant formula are sold, including Abbott, Wyeth, Biostime etc. Most of those stockedare multinational brands, but the company intends to introduce more domestic infant formulabrands. In fact, LBX Pharmacy began to sell infant formula as long ago as 2009 in its flagshipstores nationwide, although at that stage it sold only one brand
Biostime. Sales throughpharmacies accounted for about 8% of Biost
ime’s total sales in 2012 and Biostime believe this
channel will contribute significantly to its business in the future with more governmentpromotion in this sector.This trend is indeed promoted by government policy. According to Dairy Products China Newsissued by CCMin August, on 20 June, 9 ministries including the Ministry of Agriculture and the
China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) released Suggestions on Further StrengtheningInfant Formula Safety and Quality. One of the measures requires trying out special counter sales of infant formula in pharmacies
this attracted the public’s attention and led to
requestsfor further information about the policy. In this context, the CFDA released further details,indicating that the idea of trying out sales of infant formula in pharmacies is based on theexperience from overseas markets, where pharmacies provide a key sales channel for infantformula.The channel is expected to better guarantee the safety of infant formula because of the strict
management system (with Good Supply Practices for Pharmaceutical Products, “GSP”) under
which pharmacies operate. The details noted that the CFDA would gradually carry out a pilotprogram in this sales channel, and that any pharmacy which receives a circulation license for infant formula can set up a special counter in this way. Based on the pilot results, the CFDAwould formulate related management measures and supervision systems to refine theapproach.