In a country where access to health services and cheap medicines remains a problem, The Generics Pharmacy aims to make quality medicines affordable to everyone.
The Generics Pharmacy has become one of the country’s best and largest retailers of medicine since its launch in 2001. Its success can be attributed to its founder and Vice Chairman Benjamin Liuson, who believed in unbranded medicines at a time when consumers were still unwilling to accept them.
“Crack your head, use your brain and don’t be afraid to try new things,” said Liuson, whose family has established a tradition of providing affordable and safe medicines after it purchased in 1960 a wholesale pharmaceutical company that supplied drugstores.
For the first five years, The Generic Pharmacy had a single store that became popular even among people coming from other provinces in Central and Southern Luzon.
Growing a new business was not without challenges. After The Generics Pharmacy gained popularity, many other drugstores tried to copy its strategy of providing unbranded medicines.
But Liuson said the accessibility and visibility of the outlets gave him an advantage. “We are in prime locations like the palengke and commercial centers where people go every day. You must let people know they have access to quality medicines at a good price,” he said.
Liuson publicized and generated interest in his stores by buying advertising spots in mass media. However, lack of support from medical doctors hampered sales. The company also had to change the public’s perception of generic drugs.
“Advertising by multi-national companies says that generics are of questionable quality. Of course, that is not true, otherwise generics manufacturers would have been shut down long ago,” Liuson said.
Franchising led The Generic Pharmacy to embrace an inclusive business model providing livelihood and employment opportunities in almost every town or city where it operates
Despite the challenges, Liuson made another bold move by franchising TGP. It now holds the record for having a thousand franchisees in the Philippines.
Going into franchising led The Generic Pharmacy to embrace an inclusive business model that provides livelihood and employment opportunities in almost every town or city where it operates.
Normel Panganiban, one of TGP’s successful franchisees, is proof of this. He first saw The Generics Pharmacy in a trade show for franchising.
“I was impressed by the company’s concept,” he said. TGP’s drive to provide jobs to people and give access to low-cost yet quality medicines to consumers are the main reasons Panganiban decided to try franchising.
“Think of what you can do for fellow Filipinos. All of us should do our part to help our countrymen.”
Panganiban later learned how to manage and work with people. “You get to know their potentials. You are able to help them improve and develop themselves so they can become healthcare advocates,” he says.
TGP, aside from ensuring access to affordable quality medicines and providing employment and livelihood opportunities, also has a scholarship program and provides free medical consultation for street children and those in orphanages. Its walk-in centers in the cities of Makati and Quezon also provide free medical consultation. To reach more people, TGP makes available free consultation over the phone through Skype and Viber.
For all that it has done, TGP has received various awards and recognition like the Outstanding Filipino Franchise of the Year in 2013 and Outstanding Filipino Retailer in 2012.
Liuson’s daring and audacity have earned recognition for TGP but his commitment remains the same.
“Since we are in the pharmacy business, we do our part through retail outlets that provide quality, effective, safe medicine at affordable prices.”
“Think of what you can do for fellow Filipinos. All of us should do our part to help our countrymen,” said Liuson. “Since we are in the pharmacy business, we do our part through retail outlets that provide quality, effective, safe medicine at affordable prices.”
This story is part of a series of articles written by GO NEGOSYO writers being published by GoodNewsPilipinas.com every Tuesday as part of our support to Philippine businesses.