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Unbundling Should Boost Pharmacy's Upward Trend

PHARMACY DIRECT

Media Release

Unbundling Should Boost Pharmacy’s Upward Trend

For release: 9 May 2006

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New Zealand’s largest online pharmacy expects the unbundling of telephone and internet services to substantially boost an already powerful upward trend in sales.

Prior to last week’s government announcement on unbundling, the Pharmacy Direct group was anticipating sales figures approaching $5 million for the year to March 2007. As a result of the announcement, Pharmacy Direct now believes it will easily overshoot this figure.

“We are convinced that the spread of broadband has been a major factor fuelling sales over recent years. These rose by 500% during the year to March 2006, following a 300% rise in the year to March 2005,” says the group’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Jason Roberts.

“Broadband has clearly made online ordering faster and more convenient, enhancing the inherent appeal of online commerce. At the same time, experience of the medium has made consumers more comfortable and confident about purchasing online.

“Our own growth has been mirrored across the Tasman, where Pharmacy Direct Australia, a company performing a similar function to ours, was recently acquired by the Coles Myer group for $48M (Aus). Clearly, we are dealing with an international trend of huge significance in the marketing of health and wellness products,” Mr Roberts adds.

“Despite the strong growth we have experienced in recent years, we have been conscious of the limitations placed on the New Zealand market by comparatively slow and cumbersome internet connections and by the high cost of broadband to New Zealanders.

“We believe that faster and more cost-effective broadband access, resulting from unbundling, will markedly increase the level of broadband usage and render online purchasing convenient and attractive to a broader range of consumers. We anticipate that last week’s government announcement will spur a substantial increase in online commerce, even before unbundling gets signed into law. This will obviously have a direct and beneficial impact on our business.

Mr Roberts adds that Pharmacy Direct’s sales have also benefited from the fact that broadband’s emergence has coincided with an increased consumer focus on health and wellness and with a widespread desire for accurate information on products.

“Online marketing allows us to provide consumers with the essential information required when making purchasing decisions. It also makes it easy for customers to compare prices with those available in traditional High Street pharmacies. These factors, aided by effective marketing, have all combined to help boost sales,” he says.

Founded in 1998, Pharmacy Direct is one of only two online pharmacies accredited to the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.

ENDS

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