Pharmacy price war: Dischem vs Clicks vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar

 ·28 Sep 2016

Medical products can be among the more expensive items on your shopping list, and with the difficult economic cycle, it may help to  shop around to save extra cash.

Along with many privately-owned pharmacies across South Africa, companies such as Dischem and Clicks Pharmacies have made dispensaries widely available to the public.

On top of these specialist stores, most of South Africa’s grocery stores carry common over the counter (OTC) medical aides, with some of the bigger stores in the franchises also having their own special pharmaceutical dispensaries.

Pick n Pay has its in-store pharmacy PnP Dispensary at 31 stores in South Africa – while Shoprite and Checkers has over 140 MediRite Pharmacies in stores across the country.

Spar also has an in-store Pharmacy at Spar brand in select locations.

BusinessTech investigates how prices for common products differ across the various retail outlets.

BusinessTech compared 10 common over the counter pharmaceutical products that cater for a wide range of ailments from five major pharmacies.

Promotional discounts were not taken into consideration, though it should be noted that stores hold specials on a regular basis – often seasonally, to cater for associated ailments.

Looking at the selected basket, it’s clear that prices for medical OTC medical products stay pretty much in range across the board, though each store has its own highs and lows.

No one store was the cheapest for every category, even though Dischem came out as the most affordable, overall. Dischem tied with Checkers for having 4 of the cheapest products – but Checkers also tied with Spar in having 4 of the most expensive products.

Spar was pushed to being the most expensive out of the five stores thanks to an outlier – one product being R20 more expensive than the other stores.

Among the “specialist” stores, Dischem edges in as the cheaper alternative to Clicks, but only by R2.50.

These are the results:


Product Dischem Clicks Pharmacies Checkers Medirite PnP Dispensary Pharmacy at Spar
Linctagon Throat Spray (20ml) R103.95 R103.00 R94.99 R105.95 R101.99
MedLemon (8s) R35.95 R37.95 R33.99 R38.99 R40.99
Strepsils (24s) R52.95 R52.95 R54.99 R56.99 R44.99
Vicks Acta Plus (150ml) R56.95 R61.95 R69.99 R67.99 R69.49
Citro Soda (60g) R44.95 R44.95 R39.99 R46.99 R51.49
Sinutab (15ml) R52.95 R49.95 R35.99 R52.55 R56.99
Elastoplast Fabric (10s) R11.95 R11.95 R12.99 R11.99 R12.49
Dulcolax (30s) R61.95 R61.95 R64.99 R66.99 R84.99
Vicks Vaporub (50g) R41.95 R39.95 R49.99 R41.99 R47.49
Germolene Ointment (20g) R32.95 R33.95 R38.99 R36.80 R32.99
Total R496.50 R498.55 R502.90 R527.23 R543.90

All prices were sourced in-store in shops around Centurion on 28 September 2016

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