Its When, Not If, Chemist Warehouse Will Set Up in New Zealand. And Amazon: “Your Margin is Our Opportunity” – updated

Source: Facebook


Chemist Warehouse are recruiting for pharmacists in Auckland, ending any speculation over when they are coming.


Source: Facebook

Good news today for anyone sick and tired of paying excessively high pharmacy prices in New Zealand. Things may be about to get a whole lot cheaper.

It looks like the Pharmacy Guild of NZ may already running scared at the possibility that competition could be introduced into New Zealand’s restricted pharmacy wholesale sector.

According to

Australian pharmacy giant Chemist Warehouse is looking to open in New Zealand, according to industry sources.

It is understood the retailer is looking for properties in St Lukes, Auckland.

Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand general manager Nicole Rickman said she had heard Chemist Warehouse was planning to open in New Zealand but did not want to comment further…

“There are rumours flying around that Australian discount pharmacy Chemist Warehouse is heading to New Zealand,” it said in a Facebook post.

Chemist Warehouse is the sixth largest retailer in Australia with an annual turnover of A$4.4 billion (NZ$4.7bn) in 2016, and the biggest online pharmacy retailer in Australia.

First Retail Group manager Chris Wilkinson said Chemist Warehouse’s bulk buying business model would appeal to shoppers looking for value.

It should be easy for them to bring a wholesale market to New Zealand.”

Green Cross Health owns Life Pharmacy and Unichem in New Zealand, which had about a 50 per cent share of the pharmacy market.

Chemist Warehouse is known to offer a low cost, online prescription service in Australia, and is sure to want to bring this facility to customers in New Zealand.

Chemist Warehouse chief operating officer Mario Tascone today told the AJP that while a Chemist Warehouse presence in New Zealand is a definite goal for the group…

“..we will go into New Zealand,” he says. “New Zealand is a good market, and we want to be there and bring value to it, and will open there eventually.”

He says that this is a busy period for Chemist Warehouse: “We’ve got lots of stores on the go at the moment in good and expanding areas, and that’s what’s happening all over Australia.

“We’ve got lots of new pharmacists joining, and it’s all systems go at the moment.” source

The news will be treated with relief by New Zealanders, many of whom go without vital medicines due to the high costs involved.

The country has one of the highest rates of rheumatic fever in the developed world ,and emergency departments that are under pressure because patients can’t afford GP fees. Parents even take to Facebook to ask for spare antibiotics to treat their children because they can’t afford to go to the doctor:

For example, New Zealanders who need to carry around an Epipen may soon be able to pay same price as their Australian peers: $37.80 AUD for TWO (see image below) rather than $135 NZD for ONE at or $120 for a single pen from

The Chemist Warehouse price for 2 Epipens

And here’s a comparison of the price of Arnica, NZ’s (90g) on the left, and Chemist Warehouse’s (100g) on the right:

UK prices are a shocker for Kiwis

Below is a screen shot of some everyday pharmaceuticals from British outlets. Can you imagine similar prices ever being permitted in New Zealand?


Prices for everyday pharmaceuticals in the UK, generic and branded.


This Tweet shows the dilemma the average person has with the cost of accessing healthcare in New Zealand, and the pressure that places on hospital emergency rooms:

Amazon: “Your margin is our opportunity”

New Zealanders may also soon benefit from having Amazon across the pond.

The retail behemoth is due to open its first warehouses in Australia later this year, and is likely to include shipping to New Zealand in its marketplace offerings.


Neosporin may soon be available in New Zealand, thanks to Amazon.

Amazon is known to stock many of the everyday supplies already offered by pharmacies such as travel sickness pills, some that are not yet available eg. Neosporin, and other first aid supplies, children’s medications, hygiene products, vitamins, and supplements.

One thought on “Its When, Not If, Chemist Warehouse Will Set Up in New Zealand. And Amazon: “Your Margin is Our Opportunity” – updated

  1. The government scheme in NZ for meds is better set up than it is in Oz. I’m on regular medication and I can get 3 months supply for $5. It use to be $3. Even after I pay a Dr here $40 to get my scripts it works out to be cheaper for me over the course of a year for example. Not all medication comes under this scheme but I’ve found my regular stuff is. I’ve also noticed that after about a year paying it I get a period where I don’t have to pay for 6 months of my scripts.
    However OTC meds here in NZ are ridiculously over priced. A box of OTC pain killers for example here are about $16 where as the same OTC item in Oz is $5.00. Same with almost all the OTC stuff here. I told my pharmacist about the price discrepancy and he didn’t believe me. The Chemist Warehouse will put a lot of the chemists here out of business or force them to put their prices down and align with a chain. They’ve had it too good here for too long. I hope the supermarket cartel here gets disrupted too by the likes of Aldi , AGI etc. Food and grocery and basic meds should be affordable here. The fact that they hike up their prices when it comes to basic needed commodities here is just plain out cruel. Nothing clever about making money from those who can least afford it. Its opportunistic and inherently medieval. Shops and businesses and government seem to think it okay to practice this rip off. I don’t work like a dog so these guys can stay operating like sharks. I bypass the middle man if I can by shopping online and forgo anything that is overpriced. Shopping wisely is a must here in NZ. Nothing here is priced fairly. The price of milk in this country is a national disgrace. Fonterra are a bunch of thieves.

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