Did COVID come with a silver lining for some pharmacy businesses?

COVID provided a welcome boost financially for many of New Zealand’s community pharmacy businesses. This is the key finding of the Moore Markhams 2022 New Zealand pharmacy benchmarking survey.
The financial impact of COVID can be seen clearly in this year’s benchmarking data through both the analysis of the overall results compared to previous years, and significantly through comparisons of the results for those pharmacies that performed COVID vaccinations against those that didn’t.
When looking at the overall data, the average net profit before tax for the 178 pharmacies included in this year’s survey rose to 9.4 percent of revenue compared to 8.2 percent last year. This was a result of an average vaccination income of 4.6 percent of revenue this year, despite a reduction in gross profit.
A year ago, when we prepared the 2021 national pharmacy benchmarking survey, we commented on the fine job the industry had done throughout the pandemic, says Jonathan Roberts, Auckland director and lead on the survey project.
“At that time, COVID vaccinations for the general population had started being available at a number of community pharmacies, although we don’t think many were prepared for the volume of people that subsequently flocked to their local pharmacies to receive their ‘jabs’,” he says.
During 2022, in addition to directly receiving remuneration for performing COVID-related services such as vaccinations or RATs, additional government support was available for those that had been negatively impacted including wage subsidies or resurgence support payments.
Some pharmacies reported benefitting through the necessity of customers needing to shop locally or purchase new products such as masks etc.
“The bond created between pharmacies and their communities during this time will hopefully provide benefits for years to come,” says Anson Lam, facilitator of the report.
The comprehensive report based on anonymised data from pharmacies around the country is available from a Moore Markhams director or can be requested here.