Pharmacy price shootout: Dis-Chem vs Clicks

As South Africa enters into the winter months, citizens need to be aware of rising Covid cases and contend with the higher likelihood of catching other common illnesses associated with the colder weather.

Staying healthy is imperative, especially in winter when cold and flu strains are more prevalent. Medicine, however, can be expensive, especially when it isn’t part of your monthly budget.

Along with many privately-owned pharmacies across South Africa, companies such as Dis-Chem and Clicks Pharmacies have made dispensaries widely available to the public. Many cold and flu remedies are also available at local supermarkets, or in special in-store dispensaries like Medi-Rite at Shoprite and Checkers.

BusinessTech shopped around for 10 common over-the-counter items at these stores to compare prices.

We looked at non-promotional prices only.

From the analysis, it’s clear that shopping at specialty health and pharmacy outlets like Dis-Chem and Clicks will see customers get the best prices – though the margins are not as great as one might expect.

Overall, Dis-Chem currently offers the best price for our basket, which comprises common winter remedies like cough medicine, Med-Lemon, and Strepsils, as well as more specific-use healthcare products like plasters, muscle rubs, and multi-vitamins.

The Dis-Chem basket was the only one to come in under R800 – but was only R15 cheaper than Clicks. Pick n Pay was the most expensive basket, but only marginally.

Notably, the Checkers Medi-Rite basket was only a rand more expensive than Clicks.

As the medical and healthcare products are not white label house brands, wiggle room for pricing is limited, which explains the pricing parity across stores. In many cases, the differences between stores came down to cents.

It also explains why the likes of Dis-Chem and Clicks constantly run promotions.

A food and product basket comprising house brands, where stores have more control over pricing, shows a starker difference in basket prices.

All prices are non-promotional, sourced at the respective online stores. In-store prices subject to change.

Read: Shopping price war 2022: Woolworths vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar vs Food Lovers

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