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German retail pharmacies –- regulation, professional identity and commercial differentiation

Pioch, Elke and Schmidt, Ruth A. (2001) German retail pharmacies –- regulation, professional identity and commercial differentiation. Marketing intelligence & planning, 19 (5). pp. 330-340. ISSN 0263-4503

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Abstract

In a highly regulated yet increasingly competitive environment the professional self- perception of German retail pharmacists is increasingly put under pressure. Whilst the professional image focuses on the pharmaceutical care side, survival and future profitability also depend on successful commercial differentiation as a means of counteracting declining average margins. Presents the findings from a grounded theory study amongst retail pharmacists in Berlin and Brandenburg. Legal restrictions on manipulating the conventional marketing mix are discussed and alternative strategic moves towards differentiation explored. A tentative typology of pharmacies is developed, highlighting the importance of collaborative links and a strategic business perspective to future survival and prosperity.

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