Leading SA retail pharmacy group, Clicks, will soon take over the management of Netcare’s 37 Medicross branded retail pharmacies and 51 hospital retail front shop operations.

Under the agreement, the dispensing of prescriptions will remain within Netcare’s hospital pharmacies.

“The rationale for the transaction is to offer an enhanced retail service offering to both patients and consumers by affiliating the pharmacy and the front shops to an experienced retail provider such as Clicks,” said Netcare in a statement.

Specific employees working within Netcare operations will be transferred to Clicks on terms similar to their current conditions of employment and any other employees indirectly affected will remain employed by Netcare on their current conditions of employment.

“Requirements for Netcare and Clicks will have no material impact on the earnings and financial positions of either Netcare or Clicks,” said the groups in a joint statement.

“We welcome the opportunity to be the retail pharmacy partner of a healthcare group of Netcare’s stature. This agreement will extend Clicks retails pharmacy presence and we will be rebranding the Medicross pharmacies and Netcare front shops to Clicks, said CEO of Clicks Group, David Kneale.

The deal is expected to close on 1 October 2016 to allow the companies to gain approval from the competition authority.

However independent pharmacists and a trade union are against the deal. According to the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), the deal is a threat to small businesses, while the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) said Netcare had failed to consult employees about its plans to transfer them to Clicks.

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