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  • Unichem

    In the old days there was an organisation called Chemists Federation which produced its own brands restricted to pharmacies. This was in reply to the prevalent cut pricing by general stores. Wholesalers were signed up to the scheme. Then came the end of price maintenance and the wholesalers combined to become Unichem.
    The stated policy was that they would only sell to pharmacies and would not open pharmacies to compete against their customers. With the decline in independent Pharmacies, this policy would have to change and this is when Pessina stepped in and took control.
    They started buying pharmacies and gradually evolved to become a rival to AAH, The big leap came when Pessina enlisted help from US financiers and the rest is history as they took over the shoe.
    Now he is stepping down and it may be the end of an era.
    johnep.

  • #2
    Unichem - The pointer to value.
    If you remember the ordering terminal connected to an acoustic coupler that you placed the phone in.
    Then you got back codes and oos. It was like magic.
    Especially when you had just come from the shoe where they had electro-mechanical tills.
    47 BC : Julius Cesar : Veni Vidi Vici : I came, I saw I conquered.
    2018 AD : Modern Man : I shopped, I clicked, I collected.
    How times change.

    If you find you have read something that has upset or offended you an anyway please unread it at once.

    Comment


    • gmorris291
      gmorris291 commented
      Editing a comment
      Also Unichem shelf edge stickers with the code numbers for a product.

  • #3
    Not quite Johnep. The Chemists Federation was an organisation set up to 'approve' products and agree a deal with manufacturers so that the products listed were only sold in pharmacies. As you say, it was a means of maintaining prices and the end of RPM ended the CF. The CF was wound up after the final abolition of RPM in the early 60's. IIRC it was associated with the NPA..... then the NPU.

    Unichem was nothing to with the CF; it was originally (1938) a buying group based, IIRC, in Surrey by among others a pharmacist called Ernest Skues and it really took off in the 60's, under a Chief Exec..... Peter something IIRC....... who was paid on a turnover basis, as opposed to profits. IIRC it quite often only made very small profits, once all operating costs and dividends were removed. It was very much a buying co-operative, with local management committees ....... I sat on one for several years. It was quite a while ...... the late 80's/early 90's ...... before it started actually buying pharmacies, although for a while before it loaned money to young pharmacists to buy pharmacies. It was regarded with dislike by wholesalers such as Macarthys because as it was a co-op it returned profits to it's members and was therefore very competitive.
    As you say though, as the number of independents, particularly large ones, declined, a change of direction was needed, and this co-incided with the retirement of the previous CEO. Membership was converted to shareholding and as you say that was when Pessina arrived.

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    • #4
      Thanks Merlyn, I had simplified things somewhat and all viewed from an outsiders perspective. You were obviously more closely involved as an independent owner.
      johnep

      Comment


      • #5
        "the final abolition of RPM in the early 60's" RPM on OTC Medicines continued until 2001.
        The Chemists Federation was disbanded in 1959 as their practices were found in court to be in breach of Restrictive Trade Practices act. P medicines were subsequently introduced as part of the 1968 Medicines act.
        https://www.bmj.com/content/2/5102/985

        Initially Unichem was an alliance of independents who all had a share in the company. I believe some of the early members made quite a of money on their shares.
        [I]Nice information. I like your information very much. It is a perfect information that clears all my doubts and gives a clear idea regarding that. It is really advantageous for me.I would definably take the benefit of it.[/I]

        Comment


        • #6
          Selling souls to devil in hindsight!
          johnep

          YUP!!
          Last edited by Merlyn; 31, July 2020, 04:04 PM.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Pharmanaut View Post
            Unichem - The pointer to value.
            If you remember the ordering terminal connected to an acoustic coupler that you placed the phone in.
            Then you got back codes and oos. It was like magic.
            Especially when you had just come from the shoe where they had electro-mechanical tills.
            The Prosper terminal
            [I]Nice information. I like your information very much. It is a perfect information that clears all my doubts and gives a clear idea regarding that. It is really advantageous for me.I would definably take the benefit of it.[/I]

            Comment


            • #8
              Whrn I started at the shoe, they had no tills. Instead you were supposed to write the sale down and tot it up, then give change from a drawer. When the four draw NCR tills came in it was big news.
              johnep

              Comment


              • #9
                [I]Nice information. I like your information very much. It is a perfect information that clears all my doubts and gives a clear idea regarding that. It is really advantageous for me.I would definably take the benefit of it.[/I]

                Comment


                • #10
                  The ones we had had a hole with a shutter.
                  They were bought to cover the miners strike/power cuts. (1973 if I remember correctly)
                  You fished the handle out of a drawer and could operate the till by rotating it.
                  47 BC : Julius Cesar : Veni Vidi Vici : I came, I saw I conquered.
                  2018 AD : Modern Man : I shopped, I clicked, I collected.
                  How times change.

                  If you find you have read something that has upset or offended you an anyway please unread it at once.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Thanks for the pic, brought back memories.
                    johnep

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      At one stage...... just before decimalisation ........ we had a pre-reg whose first language was Swahili. The rest of us could add up four or five £sd items...... not usually £ TBH in our head, although counting out loud. Raj did it out loud, too, but in Swahili. He always got it right though. Fazed one or two of the customers sometimes.

                      Really nice chap; lost touch. Wonder where he is now!

                      Comment

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