In 2004 when new, crippling medicine and dispensing price regulations were being introduced, the head of an emerging major pharmaceutical chain predicted the “extinction of small retail pharmacies” in South Africa.
Since then, large corporate-scale pharmacies have proliferated around the country, but smaller retail operations, such as Port Elizabeth’s long-standing Provincial Westbourne Pharmacy, have adapted and evolved to make it in a highly competitive pharmaceutical environment.
Arguably one of the Bay’s most outspoken pharmacists and co-owner of Provincial Westbourne Pharmacy, David Rubin, 51, last week unpacked the challenges and the keys to successfully operate an independent pharmacy business in Nelson Mandela Bay at his bustling Mount Croix premises.
Rubin, who is also a popular and avid Bay surfer, was educated at Theodor Herzl High School before he went on to earn a degree in pharmacy at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
Having gone on to accrue extensive experience outside of Port Elizabeth in related fields, including having served as a medical rep and as the managing director of an Asian pharmaceutical firm, he later returned to Port Elizabeth where he bought his father’s 40-year-old Westbourne Road-based pharmacy.
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