Newpharma: another Walloon success story21/03/2019

With more than 1.5 million parcels sent in 2018, the leading Belgian online pharmacy company, Newpharma, is positioning itself as one of the key players in the sector.

The company, founded in 2008 with 4 partners, had a difficult start. This was due in particular to the legislation put in place for the online sale of pharmaceutical products and the very conservative nature of this sector. Another problem facing online pharmacies is advertising. Indeed, the applicable legislation prohibits businesses in this sector from carrying out so-called "flashy" advertising and soliciting customers.

Despite these various obstacles, the company decided to adopt a bold approach that has led to its current position as a Belgian benchmark in terms of e-commerce. 

In December 2017, the Colruyt family holding company, Korys, announced that it had purchased shares in Newpharma from its current shareholders through a management buy-out (MBO). The four partners who created the platform are therefore also part of the shareholder base. 

Today, Newpharma employs 200 people, offers more than 35,000 products and delivers to 12 countries across Europe. The online firm has grown significantly year on year and ended 2018 with 30% growth. Another growing figure is the number of employees. The company plans to construct a new building to provide more space and support its development. In addition to the 30 or so people who process and prepare the daily orders, several pharmacists work in the offices to follow-up on orders efficiently and advise patients if necessary.

The company already exports its products to several European countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The scale-up is also intended to attack the markets of southern Europe, but, "this would certainly require us to have a local presence, because the selections are very different from those in Belgium and in terms of logistics, these markets are further away," said Mike Vandenhooft, co-founder of Newpharma in the Trends article.

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