Omega Pharma claims to make healthcare history with community pharmacy acquisition

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Omega Pharma, the fastest growing consumer health company in the UK, reports it has made a pioneering move by acquiring Warman-Freed pharmacy in Golders Green.

The purchase is claimed to be a testament to Omega Pharma’s commitment to make a real difference to retailers and is a demonstration of the business mission to truly understand the challenges and opportunities facing this profession. The project will see Omega Pharma turn Warman-Freed into the first community ‘learning pharmacy’.

While nothing about the store will immediately change, the intention will be to use shoppers’ experiences to generate information about how this type of retailer is used by the local community. The products they like, the services they think need improving and how much time they spend in-store will all be researched without any influence on patient behaviour. This way, Omega Pharma hopes to be able to remodel the store based on the preferences of the people who use it, thus improving the way customers engage with the services and products that support their good health, the company reports.

The live testing capabilities will be in place across all areas of operations, and will enable Omega Pharma to gain a level of insight into the customer journey that is unparalleled in this industry, the business claims. The intention is to share the learnings with everyone connected to community pharmacy so that they can make positive changes including everything from improving cash flow, inventory management and help to foster stronger relationships with other HCP providers in the area, eg GP surgeries and nursing homes.

The 30-strong staff will continue to be a key part of this iconic store, and will be headed up by pharmacy veteran Liam Stapleton, who joins Warman-Freed as Pharmacy Superintendent. Stapleton said: “Omega Pharma is leading the way in their mission to understand what makes pharmacy tick and I’m thrilled to be part of this revolutionary new venture.

“I have been in this profession for more than 20 years, specialising in driving professional standards and training for pharmacy teams. I know how much of a critical role pharmacy plays in empowering patients to embrace self-care and I am delighted to be supporting Omega Pharma. Crucially, this project only exists because we are hoping to get an insight into how a typical community pharmacy operates, and it is evident that Warman-Freed is an integral part of the Golders Green community. Our ultimate aim is for the work at Warman-Freed to generate learnings that can help improve services supporting better health across the entire country.”

As well as gathering shopper behaviour insights, Warman-Freed will be used as a concept pharmacy, where customers and suppliers can test new lines or techniques before they are rolled out on a wider scale. “Never before will product and service testing have been conducted in a real pharmacy environment,” said Neil Lister, general manager of Omega Pharma UK. “A lot of investment has been made by FMCG and pharmaceutical companies to develop virtual reality centres where ideas and  strategies are tested. By gathering insights in a real environment we feel the industry will benefit from enriched learnings that truly reflect the business reality.

“This initiative isn’t about Omega Pharma’s commercial strategy; this is about driving positive change for the industry as a whole so that together we can make sophisticated and evidence-based business decisions centred on pharmacy retailers and the patient.”

Warman-Freed Pharmacy has been a pillar of the local community since its doors opened in the early 1950s. As one of the longest standing businesses in Golders Green, Warman-Freed has been providing residents of North London with the highest quality service for over half a century.

Simon Warman-Freed, nephew of the original owner, said: “My uncle had a great vision for Warman-Freed, truly wanting to help make people’s lives better. People don’t just get ill in normal working hours and by extending the opening time until midnight each day, including weekends and bank holidays, he was able create an offering that became central to the local community.

“When Omega Pharma made us aware about this venture my family were really impressed with their commitment to better serving the local area in addition to supporting the profession as a whole. I know this partnership will only add to the legacy that my uncle sought to create all those years ago.”

Omega Pharma officially acquired Warman-Freed pharmacy on 18 August 2014.