Woolworths rekindles pharmacies in supermarkets battle with new trademark application

Woolworths rekindles pharmacies in supermarkets battle with new trademark application

Published 24 October 2013 10:34, Updated 24 October 2013 10:57

Sue Mitchell

Woolworths has lodged a new application with IP Australia to register the trademark “Pharmacy-in-Supermarket”. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Woolworths has not given up on its ambitions to enter the $16 billion pharmacy market, despite federal government policy that has locked out major retailers since 1990. The retailer has lodged a new application with IP Australia to register the trademark “Pharmacy-in-Supermarket”. A previous application lapsed. The trademark covers six classes of goods and services, including the sale of pharmaceutical and medical products provided by pharmacists. Australia’s largest retailer has wanted to sell pharmaceuticals and prescription medicines since 2003, when it first registered the Pharmacy-in-Supermarket trademark and outlined plans to sell drugs, medicines, toiletries and tissue products from pharmacies within its stores. Under the federal government’s Community Pharmacy agreement, which has been in place since 1990, pharmacies must be owned by pharmacists. Woolworths believes consumers are paying too much for prescription and over-the-counter medicines because of the inefficiencies of independent pharmacies. In 2004, then Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett called the pharmacy industry “the biggest anti-competitive gerrymander in Australia”.


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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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