Goodlife Pharmacy strives to make its customers look and feel good through providing ethical pharmaceutical advice and globally-renowned health and beauty products
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Callam Waller
Today Goodlife Pharmacy is widely recognised and respected as the largest retail purchaser and seller of pharmaceuticals in East Africa. Borne out of a dream to deliver quality pharmaceutical services to the region, the Company tapped into the booming market in a bid to disrupt the prominent distribution of counterfeit drug sellers and sub-par clinical advice.
Seeing the numerous gaps in the market, David Zapol, Jeff McCormick and Josh Ruxin started the Company in 2013 with a vision for transforming primary health care in East Africa. In 2014, Catalyst, a regional private equity firm, provided capital to purchase Mimosa Pharmacy, located in Kenya. From there, the company took off in the market with marquis locations in the region.
“In late 2016, Leapfrog Investments acquired Catalyst’s share and with that injected more funds into Goodlife,” begins Josh Ruxin, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of GoodLife Pharmacy. “Subsequently from that point we have grown from five outlets in 2014 to more than 33 in both Kenya and Uganda.”
At the heart of Goodlife’s vision is the desire to help clients look and feel good. Goodlife employees receive the highest level of training in pharmacy and beauty and are well equipped to provide consultation on health and beauty products.
“If one of our customers was to come in with a bad cold - caused by a virus - then our team will recommend appropriate over-the-counter drugs to address the symptoms,” continues Ruxin. “Unlike a large number of pharmacies across East Africa who will often push expensive and unnecessary antibiotics to boost profits, we are able to provide the best prescription for customers’ needs.”
Goodlife has and always will seek to be a true health partner; acting in the best interests of its customers remaining at the forefront of its work.
Ruxin explains: “In order to continue offering the best service, we have carried out in-depth research to learn more about the desires and aspirations of our local consumers, enabling us to deliver products well suited to their needs.”
A quality approach to pharmaceuticals
In a very short period of time, Goodlife has created a name for itself as a leader and innovator in the pharma segment. Covering the full spectrum of pharma needs, Goodlife is the only regional pharmacy to offer a clean, confidential space for customer consultations, and has further introduced access to clinicians through in-store telemedicine services at select locations.
“We are proudly having a directly positive impact on people’s lives through increased access to reliable medication at affordable prices,” adds Ruxin. “The Company has grown very quickly and we have plans in place to increase to more than 100 stores in the next three years.”
As part of the Company’s efforts to provide the best possible service, it has been endorsed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya - through their Green Cross Accreditation - as one of the best pharmacy practices in the country.
“This recognition of Goodlife’s ongoing commitment to excellence and high standards has affirmed our approach in this business,” explains Ruxin. “We believe that quality pharmaceuticals, the use of innovative technologies across our stores and a customer-centric approach will revolutionise how healthcare is delivered across East Africa.”
Customers for life
Alongside the excellent outward perception of the Company, it enjoys extraordinarily high employee satisfaction and retention - more than 95 percent - for such a young business. Except for a few short-term consultants, all of the Company’s staff and leadership positions have been recruited locally.
Ruxin states: “We have always made it our aim to achieve 100 percent local employment. There is an abundance of amazing skill-sets available in the local workforce for us to utilise.”
In just three years, Goodlife Pharmacy has created more than 200 jobs and looks forward with the development of more stores to reach more than 5.5 million consumers across the continent annually.
“While as a business we have to care about profit, our clients come first,” affirms Ruxin. “Our format ensures that our advice is always provided in an ethical manner. We have and always will be interested in retaining customers for life, and by providing good health services we are ensuring that our clients will live long healthy lives.”
When it comes to pharmaceutical companies, bigger usually means better and Goodlife have always been aware that it couldn’t be the best unless it was the biggest.
“We required capital in order to perfect our convenience model, systems, store look and most importantly to be large enough to obtain discounts from the drug manufacturers,” continues Ruxin. “Increased capital has also enabled us to invest more in our employee training than any of our competitors.
“Employees at Goodlife know the importance of being the most up-to-date company in the industry and therefore are constantly trained in customer service and our product offering. This continued education also spans to our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, with continued education to ensure that they are up to speed with the latest drugs and treatment protocols.”
Now the Company’s relevant protocols are firmly in place and successful, the main focus is on continuing to secure a clean pipeline of authentic drugs and negotiating down the best-in-market pricing and offering for commonly used compounds.
Meeting new demands
Goodlife has successfully and consistently reduced the price of its products ever year and hopes to continue to do so in the future.
“Our drug offering has been dramatically improved and consistently adapted in order to provide genuine generic branded drugs at a competitive price,” adds Ruxin. “We recognised early on in the business that customers seek convenience and through work with Shell and Total gas stations in Kenya and Uganda, we have been able to provide easy access to essential products for them.”
In terms of the easily accessible products and services available at present, Goodlife is able to offer BMI, glucose monitoring, pregnancy tests, malaria tests, blood pressure monitoring and much more.
Ruxin concludes: “Kenya will lead the economic future of East Africa and we are pleased to have established Goodlife here.”