Although the chain covers 48 drugstores, Centrofarm holds only one unit in rural area, in Magurele, Ilfov county. “Drug market, same as all developing industries is very dynamic. This vitality entails big demand in specialized personnel (pharmacists, pharmacy assistants). If in the city, it is getting harder to recruit persons, in rural areas, it is nearly impossible,” said Dorin Catana, managing director at Centrofarm.

Although he ascertains that the investment in a drugstore in rural area is lower, because locations in the countryside are smaller-sized in terms of surface, he said that for the moment, Centrofam’s main priority remains expansion in urban areas, where the company aims at reaching 60 units by yearend.

Another reason to back Centrofarm’s reticence in expanding in rural areas is, according to the company representative, the lack of consulting rooms. “Is hard to forecast large players’ orientation towards rural areas, as long as local authorities have no intention to provide facilities to operators in the industry”, he added.

In the context of soaring purchase power, Centrofam official estimates the market will climb 8-10% from previous year. “We say the market is likely to raise 8-10%, while Centrofarm calculated an 80% growth,” he stated.

In first half, the pharma company posted a soaring turnover by 76%, compared to similar interval of last year, up to 12.78 million euros.

Centrofarm is the oldest pharmacies chain in Romania which has 75-history in providing drugs on the domestic market. Rebranding proceedings were initiated in 2005, when the network was taken over by Portuguese businessman Alain Bonte.

Still one pharmacy in the countryside for Sensiblu

Biggest pharmacy chain with national coverage, Sensiblu, with 216 units at the moment, has pulled off the plug from rural areas, with one unit opened in 2006 in Crasna commune, Gorj county. “Unfortunately, in the lack of a governmental strategy for rural development namely infrastructure and services, we cannot adopt any long-term expansion plan in these areas”, said Veronica Burlacu, PR Manager at A&D Pharma.