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Company > Dis-Chem Pharmacies: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Dis-Chem Pharmacies: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Apr 28, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model of Dis-Chem Pharmacies, a prominent player in the pharmaceutical retail industry. We will explore the key elements of their business approach, including their product offerings, target market, and distribution channels. Additionally, a comprehensive SWOT analysis will be conducted to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the company in the year 2023. Furthermore, we will also examine the competitive landscape by identifying Dis-Chem's main competitors and analyzing their strategies in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry dynamics.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Dis-Chem Pharmacies and the background of the company's ownership.
    • The mission statement of Dis-Chem Pharmacies and how it guides their operations and goals.
    • How Dis-Chem Pharmacies generates revenue and the key factors driving their financial success.
    • An in-depth explanation of Dis-Chem Pharmacies' Business Model Canvas and how it contributes to their overall business strategy.
    • An overview of the main competitors of Dis-Chem Pharmacies and their market position.
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of Dis-Chem Pharmacies, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market.

    Who owns Dis-Chem Pharmacies?

    The Founders and Major Shareholders

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies, one of South Africa's leading retail pharmacy chains, was established in 1978 by Ivan Saltzman and his wife, Lynette Saltzman. The couple opened their first store in Mondeor, Johannesburg, and their entrepreneurial spirit quickly led to the expansion of their business.

    Today, Ivan Saltzman serves as the Chairman of Dis-Chem Pharmacies, overseeing the strategic direction and growth of the company. Lynette Saltzman, on the other hand, plays a vital role as the Director of Dis-Chem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the organization.

    Apart from the Saltzman family, other major shareholders of Dis-Chem Pharmacies include the Saltzman Family Trust and the Dis-Chem Employee Share Trust. These entities hold a significant stake in the company, ensuring that the founders' vision and values remain at the core of its operations.

    Public Listing and Shareholders

    In 2016, Dis-Chem Pharmacies made its debut on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), becoming a publicly traded company. This move allowed the company to further expand its operations and unlock new opportunities for growth.

    As a result of the public listing, Dis-Chem Pharmacies welcomed a diverse group of shareholders. This includes institutional investors, such as pension funds and asset management firms, as well as individual shareholders who have chosen to invest in the company.

    While the exact ownership breakdown may change over time due to stock market dynamics, the Saltzman family and the Dis-Chem Employee Share Trust remain key stakeholders, ensuring the continuity of the company's values and long-term vision.


    Dis-Chem Pharmacies is primarily owned by the Saltzman family, who founded the company in 1978. With Ivan Saltzman as the Chairman and Lynette Saltzman as the Director of Dis-Chem Foundation, the family continues to play an active role in the company's management and philanthropic endeavors.

    Following its public listing in 2016, Dis-Chem Pharmacies welcomed a diverse group of shareholders, including institutional investors and individual shareholders. However, the Saltzman family and the Dis-Chem Employee Share Trust retain a significant stake, ensuring the company's growth aligns with its founding principles.

    What is the mission statement of Dis-Chem Pharmacies?

    Dis-Chem's Mission Statement

    The mission statement of Dis-Chem Pharmacies is to provide affordable healthcare solutions and products to the communities they serve.

    Dis-Chem aims to improve the well-being of their customers by offering a wide range of healthcare services, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and a variety of wellness products. They strive to ensure that these products and services are accessible and affordable for all, making healthcare more attainable for everyone, regardless of their financial circumstances.

    In addition to their commitment to affordability, Dis-Chem also focuses on delivering exceptional customer service. They aim to create a friendly and welcoming environment in their pharmacies, where customers can receive expert advice and guidance from their knowledgeable staff. Dis-Chem believes that building strong relationships with their customers is essential in providing personalized healthcare solutions that meet each individual's needs.

    Furthermore, Dis-Chem places a strong emphasis on corporate social responsibility. They actively engage with the communities they operate in, supporting various charitable initiatives and partnering with local organizations to address healthcare challenges. By doing so, Dis-Chem aims to make a positive impact on society and contribute to the overall well-being of the communities they serve.

    In summary, Dis-Chem's mission statement revolves around providing affordable healthcare solutions, exceptional customer service, and actively engaging in corporate social responsibility. They strive to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all, while also building strong relationships with their customers and making a positive impact on the communities they operate in.

    How does Dis-Chem Pharmacies make money?

    Retail Sales

    One of the primary ways Dis-Chem Pharmacies generates revenue is through retail sales. As a leading pharmacy chain in South Africa, Dis-Chem operates numerous stores nationwide, offering a wide range of products including prescription and over-the-counter medications, health and wellness products, beauty and skincare items, vitamins and supplements, and personal care products. By selling these products to customers, Dis-Chem earns a significant portion of its income.

    Prescription Medication

    Prescription medication is a key component of Dis-Chem's revenue stream. With a team of qualified pharmacists, the company fills prescriptions for various ailments and medical conditions. When customers purchase their prescribed medications at Dis-Chem Pharmacies, the company earns revenue from the sale. This includes both branded and generic drugs, providing customers with options at different price points.

    Health Services

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies also offers a range of health services, which contribute to its revenue generation. These services include flu vaccinations, blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol screening, and diabetes management programs. By providing these health services, Dis-Chem not only generates revenue but also aims to enhance customer loyalty and build long-term relationships.

    Beauty and Skincare Products

    Another significant source of income for Dis-Chem is its beauty and skincare product line. With a wide selection of cosmetics, skincare brands, haircare products, and fragrances, Dis-Chem caters to customers' beauty needs. By partnering with reputable brands and offering exclusive products, Dis-Chem attracts customers seeking quality beauty and skincare items, contributing to its revenue stream.

    Private Label Products

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies also generates revenue through its private label product range. These products are manufactured under the Dis-Chem brand and offer customers a cost-effective alternative to well-known brands. By leveraging their reputation and economies of scale, Dis-Chem is able to offer private label products at competitive prices while still maintaining profitability.

    Loyalty Program

    Dis-Chem's loyalty program, known as the Benefit Programme, plays a crucial role in the company's revenue generation. Through this program, customers earn loyalty points on their purchases, which can be redeemed for discounts and rewards. By incentivizing customers to shop at Dis-Chem and fostering loyalty, the company not only generates revenue but also builds a loyal customer base that may continue to patronize its stores in the long run.

    Overall, Dis-Chem Pharmacies employs various strategies to generate revenue, including retail sales of a wide range of products, prescription medications, health services, beauty and skincare products, private label offerings, and a loyalty program. By diversifying its revenue streams, Dis-Chem remains a prominent player in the pharmacy industry while meeting the diverse needs of its customers.

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies Business Model Canvas Explained


    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that helps organizations develop a clear and concise understanding of their business model. In this blog post, we will dive into the Dis-Chem Pharmacies Business Model Canvas to gain insights into how this popular pharmacy chain operates and achieves success.

    Key Partnerships

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies has established key partnerships with various stakeholders to support its business operations. One of its primary partnerships is with pharmaceutical suppliers and distributors. By collaborating with these partners, Dis-Chem ensures a steady supply of medications, healthcare products, and other pharmaceutical goods.

    In addition, Dis-Chem has formed strategic alliances with health insurance companies. This partnership allows the pharmacy chain to offer convenient and affordable healthcare services to customers who are covered by these insurance providers.

    Moreover, Dis-Chem has developed partnerships with local communities and healthcare organizations. These collaborations enable the company to actively engage in health awareness campaigns, disease prevention initiatives, and community outreach programs. By partnering with these entities, Dis-Chem strengthens its brand image and reinforces its commitment to promoting overall health and well-being.

    Key Activities

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies engages in several key activities that are essential for its business operations.

    First and foremost, the company operates a vast network of retail pharmacies across South Africa. These pharmacies provide a wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as various wellness and beauty products. Dis-Chem's pharmacies serve as the primary touchpoints for customers, where they can seek professional advice from pharmacists and access healthcare services.

    Additionally, Dis-Chem operates specialized clinics within select locations. These clinics offer services such as vaccinations, blood pressure monitoring, and basic health screenings. By providing these healthcare services, Dis-Chem aims to enhance customer convenience and promote preventive care.

    Furthermore, Dis-Chem has invested in technology and systems to streamline its supply chain and inventory management processes. This ensures efficient stock replenishment, reduces wastage, and enables the company to provide customers with a reliable supply of medications and products.

    Key Resources

    To support its operations, Dis-Chem Pharmacies relies on various key resources. One of the most critical resources is its extensive network of physical stores. These stores serve as the backbone of Dis-Chem's retail business, providing customers with convenient access to a wide range of healthcare products and services.

    Additionally, Dis-Chem's team of qualified pharmacists and healthcare professionals is a valuable resource. These professionals play a crucial role in providing expert advice to customers, ensuring the safe dispensing of medications, and delivering quality healthcare services.

    Dis-Chem also leverages its strong brand reputation as a key resource. Over the years, the company has built a trusted and recognized brand in the South African market. This brand reputation helps attract and retain customers, differentiate Dis-Chem from competitors, and create a sense of trust and reliability.

    Customer Relationships

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies focuses on building strong and long-lasting relationships with its customers. The company strives to provide exceptional customer service and personalized care to meet the unique needs of each individual.

    One way Dis-Chem achieves this is through its customer loyalty program, known as the Dis-Chem Benefits program. This program offers exclusive discounts, rewards, and personalized offers to members, incentivizing repeat purchases and fostering customer loyalty.

    Moreover, Dis-Chem maintains an active presence on social media platforms, engaging with customers and addressing their queries or concerns. This enables the company to foster a sense of community and build relationships beyond the physical store environment.


    By analyzing the Dis-Chem Pharmacies Business Model Canvas, we gain a comprehensive understanding of how this pharmacy chain operates. Through strategic partnerships, key activities, valuable resources, and strong customer relationships, Dis-Chem has successfully positioned itself as a leading player in the South African pharmaceutical market.

    Which companies are the competitors of Dis-Chem Pharmacies?

    Major Competitors of Dis-Chem Pharmacies

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies, a prominent South African retail pharmacy chain, faces stiff competition from several companies in the industry. These competitors pose a challenge to Dis-Chem's market share and customer base. Let's take a closer look at some of the major competitors of Dis-Chem Pharmacies:

    1. Clicks Group Limited

    Clicks Group Limited is one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in South Africa and a major competitor of Dis-Chem Pharmacies. With a strong presence nationwide, Clicks offers a comprehensive range of pharmaceutical products, beauty and wellness items, and healthcare services. The company's extensive store network and well-established brand make it a formidable rival for Dis-Chem.

    2. Pick n Pay Pharmacy

    Pick n Pay, a leading South African supermarket chain, has a dedicated pharmacy division that competes directly with Dis-Chem Pharmacies. With convenient store locations and competitive pricing, Pick n Pay Pharmacy attracts a significant customer base seeking pharmaceutical products, over-the-counter medications, and health-related services. The company's wide range of offerings and its integration within the supermarket chain make it a notable competitor.

    3. Alpha Pharm

    Alpha Pharm is another strong competitor in the South African pharmacy retail sector. This independent pharmacy group comprises numerous member pharmacies across the country. While not as large-scale as Dis-Chem or Clicks, Alpha Pharm differentiates itself by focusing on personalized customer service and community engagement. Their emphasis on building strong local relationships can be an appealing alternative to customers seeking a more intimate pharmacy experience.

    4. MediRite Pharmacy

    MediRite Pharmacy, a subsidiary of Shoprite Holdings, is a significant competitor to Dis-Chem Pharmacies. With stores located within Shoprite supermarkets, MediRite offers convenience and accessibility to a wide range of healthcare products and services. Their competitive pricing strategy and integration with the Shoprite brand make them a formidable rival for Dis-Chem.

    5. Independent Pharmacies

    In addition to the major pharmacy chains, independent pharmacies scattered throughout South Africa also compete with Dis-Chem. These smaller pharmacies often cater to local communities, offering personalized services, quick prescription filling, and a more intimate customer experience. While they may lack the extensive product range and marketing power of larger chains, independent pharmacies can establish strong customer loyalty and attract those seeking a more personal touch.

    Overall, Dis-Chem Pharmacies faces fierce competition from several established players in the South African retail pharmacy industry. While Dis-Chem has its unique strengths, such as an extensive product range and a focus on wellness services, it must continuously innovate and adapt to retain its competitive edge against these formidable rivals.

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies SWOT Analysis


    • Wide range of products and services: Dis-Chem Pharmacies offers a diverse range of products and services, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, beauty products, health foods, and vitamins. This wide range allows them to cater to a broad customer base and meet various health and wellness needs.

    • Strong brand reputation: Dis-Chem Pharmacies has built a strong brand reputation over the years, known for its quality products and excellent customer service. This reputation has helped them establish a loyal customer base and gain the trust of consumers.

    • Extensive store network: The company has an extensive network of stores across South Africa, with over 150 locations. This widespread presence allows them to reach a large customer base and ensures convenience for customers as they can easily find a Dis-Chem store in their vicinity.

    • Comprehensive loyalty program: Dis-Chem Pharmacies offers a comprehensive loyalty program called "Dis-Chem Benefits," which provides customers with various rewards, discounts, and exclusive offers. This program helps to foster customer loyalty and encourages repeat business.


    • Limited international presence: Dis-Chem Pharmacies currently operates only in South Africa, which limits their growth potential compared to competitors with a global presence. This lack of international expansion may hinder their ability to tap into new markets and diversify their revenue streams.

    • Reliance on suppliers: Like most retail businesses, Dis-Chem Pharmacies relies on suppliers to provide them with products. Any disruptions or issues with their suppliers could impact their ability to maintain inventory and meet customer demand.

    • Pricing competitiveness: While Dis-Chem Pharmacies offers a wide range of products, their pricing may not always be as competitive as some of their competitors. This could potentially lead price-sensitive customers to explore other options, impacting their market share.


    • Increasing focus on health and wellness: With the growing global trend towards health and wellness, Dis-Chem Pharmacies has an opportunity to capitalize on this by expanding their product offerings in this segment. They can introduce more organic and natural products, health supplements, and wellness services to attract customers who prioritize a healthy lifestyle.

    • E-commerce growth: The rise of e-commerce presents a significant opportunity for Dis-Chem Pharmacies to expand their reach and cater to customers who prefer online shopping. By enhancing their online platform and offering convenient delivery options, the company can tap into the growing online market and increase their customer base.

    • Expansion into other African countries: Dis-Chem Pharmacies can explore expanding their operations into other African countries, leveraging their successful business model and brand reputation. This expansion would allow them to tap into new markets and potentially become a leading pharmacy retailer across the continent.


    • Intense competition: The pharmacy retail sector in South Africa is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Competitors may offer similar products and services at lower prices or have a stronger brand presence, posing a threat to Dis-Chem Pharmacies' market position.

    • Regulatory challenges: The pharmaceutical industry is subject to stringent regulations, and any changes in laws or regulations can impact Dis-Chem Pharmacies' operations. Compliance with these regulations and adapting to any changes can be a challenge for the company.

    • Economic volatility: Economic downturns or fluctuations can affect consumer spending habits, including their healthcare and wellness expenditures. During tough economic times, customers may opt for cheaper alternatives or reduce their overall spending, which could affect Dis-Chem Pharmacies' revenue and profitability.

    Key Takeaways

    • Dis-Chem Pharmacies is a privately owned company, with the majority of shares held by the founders and management.

    • The mission statement of Dis-Chem Pharmacies is to provide accessible healthcare and wellness solutions through a wide range of products and personalized services.

    • Dis-Chem Pharmacies generates revenue primarily through the sale of pharmaceutical, health, and beauty products, as well as through its clinic services and wholesale distribution.

    • Dis-Chem Pharmacies' business model canvas includes key elements such as key partners, key activities, value proposition, customer segments, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

    • The main competitors of Dis-Chem Pharmacies include Clicks Group, Alpha Pharm, and independent pharmacies.

    • In terms of SWOT analysis, Dis-Chem Pharmacies' strengths include a strong brand presence, wide product range, and economies of scale. Weaknesses may include potential dependence on suppliers and limited international presence. Opportunities for Dis-Chem Pharmacies include expansion into new markets and diversification of services. Threats may include intense competition, regulatory changes, and economic fluctuations.


    In conclusion, Dis-Chem Pharmacies is owned by its founders, Ivan and Lynette Saltzman, who have successfully grown the company into one of the largest pharmacy chains in South Africa. Their mission statement focuses on providing affordable, accessible healthcare products and services to their customers.

    Dis-Chem Pharmacies generates revenue through various channels, including the sales of pharmaceuticals, beauty and wellness products, as well as providing healthcare services such as clinics and vaccination programs. Their business model is centered around offering a wide range of products at competitive prices while maintaining a high level of customer service.

    Competitors of Dis-Chem Pharmacies include Clicks Group, a leading retail pharmacy chain in South Africa, as well as independent pharmacies and other retail stores that offer similar products and services.

    A SWOT analysis of Dis-Chem Pharmacies reveals its strengths in its extensive product range and strong brand presence, as well as opportunities for expansion into new markets and the growing demand for healthcare products. However, it also faces challenges such as intense competition and potential threats from regulatory changes or economic downturns.

    Overall, Dis-Chem Pharmacies has established itself as a trusted and reliable pharmacy chain in South Africa, and its continued growth and success are a testament to its effective business model and commitment to providing quality healthcare products and services.


    What is SWOT analysis in pharmacy?

    SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used in various industries, including pharmacy, to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of a particular business or situation.

    In the context of a pharmacy, a SWOT analysis can provide valuable insights into the internal and external factors that can impact the pharmacy's performance. Here's a breakdown of how SWOT analysis can be applied to pharmacy:

    1. Strengths: These are the internal factors that give the pharmacy a competitive advantage over others. For example:
    • Strong relationships with healthcare providers and hospitals
    • Well-trained and knowledgeable pharmacists and staff
    • High-quality products and services
    • Convenient location and accessibility
    1. Weaknesses: These are the internal factors that may hinder the pharmacy's success. For example:
    • Limited range of services offered
    • Lack of updated technology or infrastructure
    • Inadequate staffing or high staff turnover
    • Poor inventory management
    1. Opportunities: These are external factors that the pharmacy can take advantage of to grow and improve. For example:
    • Expanding into new markets or demographics
    • Offering specialized services, such as medication therapy management or immunizations
    • Partnering with healthcare organizations or clinics for collaborative care
    • Emphasizing online prescription services and delivery options
    1. Threats: These are external factors that may pose challenges or risks to the pharmacy. For example:
    • Increased competition from other pharmacies or online retailers
    • Changing government regulations or policies affecting reimbursement
    • Negative public perception or trust issues related to the pharmaceutical industry
    • Economic downturn or changes in healthcare insurance coverage

    By conducting a SWOT analysis, pharmacy owners and managers can identify areas of strength to leverage, weaknesses to address, opportunities to pursue, and threats to mitigate. This analysis can help in developing strategies and action plans, making informed decisions, and staying competitive in the ever-evolving pharmacy landscape.

    What is the competitive advantage of Dischem pharmacy?

    Dischem pharmacy has several competitive advantages that set it apart from its competitors:

    1. Wide range of products: Dischem offers a comprehensive range of healthcare, wellness, beauty, and lifestyle products, providing customers with a one-stop shop for their various needs. This wide product selection gives Dischem an edge over smaller pharmacies that may have a limited range of offerings.

    2. Competitive pricing: Dischem is known for its competitive pricing strategy, offering products at affordable prices. This pricing advantage attracts price-conscious customers who are looking for good value for their money.

    3. Loyalty program: Dischem has a loyalty program called the Dischem Benefits program. This program offers exclusive discounts and rewards to loyal customers, encouraging repeat purchases and fostering customer loyalty.

    4. Professional healthcare services: Dischem pharmacies have qualified pharmacists who provide professional healthcare services such as medication advice, chronic medication management, and vaccinations. This expertise distinguishes Dischem from other pharmacies and positions it as a trusted healthcare provider.

    5. Store experience: Dischem stores are designed to provide a pleasant and convenient shopping experience. They are typically spacious, well-organized, and equipped with modern facilities. Additionally, some Dischem stores offer additional amenities like beauty salons, clinics, and wellness clinics, enhancing the overall customer experience.

    6. Online presence: Dischem has a strong online presence with an e-commerce platform that allows customers to conveniently shop for products online and have them delivered to their doorstep. This online channel increases accessibility and convenience for customers, especially those who may not have easy access to physical stores.

    Overall, Dischem's competitive advantages lie in its wide range of products, competitive pricing, loyalty program, professional healthcare services, store experience, and online presence. These factors contribute to its success and customer loyalty in the pharmacy industry.

    What are SWOT analysis example weaknesses?

    Some examples of weaknesses in a SWOT analysis could include:

    1. Lack of brand recognition or a weak brand image.
    2. Limited financial resources or capital constraints.
    3. Inadequate infrastructure or outdated technology.
    4. Poor customer service or a negative reputation among customers.
    5. High employee turnover or difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled workforce.
    6. Dependence on a single supplier or limited supplier choices.
    7. Lack of innovation or slow to adapt to market changes.
    8. Inefficient internal processes or organizational structure.
    9. Vulnerability to changes in regulations or legal challenges.
    10. Weak distribution channels or limited market reach.

    What is the mission statement for dis Chem?

    Dis-Chem's mission statement is "to be the first choice in healthcare, wellness, and beauty, offering knowledgeable advice, quality products, and excellent value, to improve the well-being of our customers and communities."

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