Pharmacy price war 2019: Dis-Chem vs Clicks vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar

Consumers continue to struggle in South Africa, due to increasing living costs and rising debt. Shoppers have become more price conscious as a result.

Staying healthy is imperative in all of our lives, especially in winter where cold and flu strains are becoming more aggressive. 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.

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

Pick n Pay has its in-store pharmacy PnP Dispensary, while Shoprite and Checkers has over 145 MediRite Pharmacies in stores across the country.

Spar also has an in-store Pharmacy at Spar brand in select locations. It should be noted, however, that Spar stores are individually owned, and prices can vary.

BusinessTech shopped around for 9 common OTC items at these stores to find out which offer the lowest prices.

We ran two comparisons – first the true price basket, which shows the prices of items where promotional discounts were taken out of the equation. The second comparison shows how promotional prices can alter the overall basket price.

In the true price basket (excluding items where these values could not be sourced), Dischem comes out as the cheapest, followed by Pick n Pay, Clicks, Checkers MediRite, and Spar having the highest price.

Product Dis-Chem Pick n Pay Pharmacy  Clicks Pharmacy Checkers Medirite Pharmacy at Spar
MedLemon (8s) R44.95 R47.99 R47.99 R47.99 R50.99
Strepsils (24s) R59.95 R63.99 R63.99 R59.99 R67.99
Vicks Acta Plus (150ml) R64.95 R65.49 R64.99 R69.99* R71.49
Citro Soda (60g) R57.95 R57.99 R57.99 R57.99 R62.49
Sinutab (15ml) R59.95 R57.99 R59.99 R56.99 R62.49
Elastoplast Fabric (10s) R34.95 R32.99 R32.99 R34.99 R34.99
Panado (24 tablets) R25.95 R25.99 R25.99 R25.99 R23.99
Vicks Vaporub (50g) R44.95 R46.99 R46.99 R44.99* R48.99*
Germolene Ointment (20g) R43.95 R43.99 R43.99 R48.99 R41.85
Total R437.55 R443.41 R444.91 R447.91 R465.27

All prices were sourced from multiple stores in and around Centurion in July 2019 and cross-referenced online, where possible. The true price basket was captured before promotions kicked in. Prices with a * were non-promotional prices sourced from store employees.

Comparing like-for-like baskets between 2018 and 2019, has seen an average increase of 8% in OTC medicine prices, with Checkers seeing the biggest price jump.

Pharmacy 2018 total 2019 total Change
Dis-Chem R385.16 R437.55 +13.6%
Pick n Pay Pharmacy R440.32 R443.41 +0.7%
Clicks Pharmacy R407.71 R444.91 +9.1%
Checkers MediRite R392.91 R447.91 +14.0%
Pharmacy @ Spar R446.85 R465.27 +4.1%

Promotional prices

With flu season in full force, retailers have launched a host of specials and discounts, which can have a big impact on where consumers decide to shop.

In the full basket, including seasonal discounts, Clicks emerges as the best buy option, having cut the prices in all but three of the products.

Checkers MediRite has the second most affordable promotional basket, followed by Pick n Pay, Dis-Chem and Spar.

The table below outlines the shelf prices as recorded at the different pharmacies – promotions have been highlighted in green.

Product Clicks Pharmacy Checkers Medirite Pick n Pay Pharmacy Dis-Chem Pharmacy at Spar
MedLemon (8s) R42.99 R38.99 R47.99 R44.95 R50.99
Strepsils (24s) R49.99 R48.99 R51.99 R59.95 R67.99
Vicks Acta Plus (150ml) R61.99 R49.99 R52.99 R64.95 R71.49
Citro Soda (60g) R45.99 R57.99 R57.99 R57.95 R62.49
Sinutab (15ml) R49.99 R56.99 R57.99 R59.95 R62.49
Elastoplast Fabric (10s) R32.99 R34.99 R32.99 R34.95 R34.99
Panado (24 tablets) R25.99 R25.99 R25.99 R25.95 R23.99
Vicks Vaporub (50g) R34.99 R34.99 R35.99 R44.95 R34.99
Germolene Ointment (20g) R43.99 R48.99 R43.99 R43.95 R41.85
Total R388.91 R397.91 R407.91 R437.55 R451.27
Seasonal saving R56.00 R50.00 R35.50 R0.00 R14.00

Read: Pharmacy price war 2018: Dischem vs Clicks vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar

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Pharmacy price war 2019: Dis-Chem vs Clicks vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar