Segment Switzerland

Market environmentBusiness performance

According to various estimates, a significant part of health costs is attributable to a lack of therapy adherence and the associated follow-up costs. In 2018, Zur Rose was also committed to promoting the development of innovative services to improve prescription safety, prescribing quality and therapy adherence. Zur Rose seeks to do this with an open digital platform, which better integrates the services of different service providers, promotes their cooperation and thus increases process efficiency.

Business performance

Stable trend in the wholesale supplier business
Notwithstanding state-prescribed price reductions, Zur Rose managed to increase its sales in the physicians business by 5.5 percent to CHF 388 million in 2018 and increase its market share from 23.6 percent to 24.7 percent year on year. The increase is primarily due to the gain of large-scale practices as new customers. Zur Rose continued to supply its partner Medbase, Migros’ subsidiary and largest provider in the field of basic outpatient medical care, with drugs. Zur Rose was able to maintain its strong position in the market as one of Switzerland’s two leading wholesaler suppliers to medical doctors.

Innovative solutions offered by the Zur Rose subsidiary BlueCare
BlueCare develops networking and communication solutions for collaboration between healthcare providers. These solutions allow stakeholders along the treatment chain to contact each other and their patients and to share relevant medical information and medication data. In the reporting year, the software solutions BlueConnect and BlueEvidence were further expanded and optimised to support medical practice management. In the e-Health ecosystem of Zur Rose, the BlueCare service offering available to professional service providers supplements the patientcentred services.

Smart Order for avoiding supply bottlenecks
 In 2018, the market experienced a sharp increase in drug supply bottlenecks compared with the previous year. This development is due to the increasingly global production and specialisation of manufacturers. Against this background, self-dispensing doctors increasingly used the Zur Rose ordering tool “Smart Order”, which provides availability information in real time and makes alternative suggestions in the event of a product shortage. Doctors’ practices can keep track of their pending medicines at any time and can re-time their orders to avoid critical bottlenecks for patients.

Services for prescribing doctors
The option of electronic prescription transfer has continued to be used by prescribing doctors. As a key element of patient safety and the digitisation of processes, and in the context of the proposed medication plan, the e-prescription will be further expanded in the future. The use of the patient report to increase therapy adherence enjoys continuing popularity. In order to make optimal use of it, Zur Rose also carried out numerous training courses for medical practice assistants in 2018.

Event to mark the company’s 25th anniversary
A highlight was the exclusive event in June 2018 to mark Zur Rose’s 25th anniversary. 1,300 guests enjoyed a concert evening at the Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne under the direction of conductor Kristjan Järvi. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic Orchestra provided an unforgettable listening experience with works by Kalnins, Sibelius, Prokofjev and Stravinsky. The keynote address was delivered by Ludwig Hasler, philosopher, physi­cist and publicist.

Retail segment sales growth
The B2C segment reported sales growth of 4.3 percent in 2018. External factors such as state-prescribed drug price reductions and a shorter and more efficient hepatitis therapy curbed growth slightly compared with the previous year. The acquisition of new customers in the prescription drugs mail order business and through the webshop developed very positively. The high level of customer satisfaction is also reflected in a survey of active customers: 90 percent of respondents are either very satisfied or satisfied with Zur Rose services. Customers are increasingly using the prescription account, which clearly displays orders for prescription drugs and makes repeat orders easy.

Additional brick-and-mortar businesses
Both the Zur Rose flag-ship pharmacy at Welle7 near Bern train station and the first Zur Rose shop-in-shop pharmacy in the Migros branch on Bern’s Marktgasse re-ported a pleasing development in terms of regular customers and sales. For Migros as a partner of Zur Rose, the pharmacy clearly adds value as it makes the retail space flourish. Customers are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunity to buy across channels from Zur Rose: The desired products can be pre-ordered online and picked up at the store, purchased directly from the pharmacy or conveniently delivered to their home. Building on the success of this concept, Zur Rose opened two ad-ditional stores in the year under review: In June, a shop-in-shop phar-macy opened in Migros at Claramarkt in Basel, followed by a branch office in November at the headquarters of Migros at Limmatplatz in Zu-rich. Other locations are being evaluated.

Redesign of the webshop with rebranding
To meet the customer’s needs even better, Zur Rose fully redesigned the webshop. SAP Hybris Commerce forms the new technical basis. More than half of the users already access the webshop via mobile devices. The new technology therefore allows easy operation on smartphones and tablets. The product range was further optimised according to customer needs and closely aligned with that of brick-and-mortar pharmacies in line with the omni-channel strategy. The new webshop has improved significantly in terms of user-friendliness: Customers now use all conventional payment options, such as Paypal, Twint, PostFinance, credit card or invoice.

Technical optimisation and the improvement in user-friendliness were also reasons to touch up the appearance of the Zur Rose brand: the Zur Rose logo is now deep red, product presentation and imagery have been modernised. As far as price policy is concerned, Zur Rose introduced the “permanent low price” in 2018: All non-prescription drugs as well as health and beauty products are permanently on offer up to 40 percent below the market price. Regular additional discounts boosted demand.

Professional support for special therapies
Together with doctors, Zur Rose has developed in Specialty Care a service that supports patients with complex therapies. A healthcare professional will assist patients at home in their familiar environment with proper drug administration, such as when performing infusion therapies. Thanks to the good sales structure, various new cooperative partnerships were concluded for the ServiceCare and HomeCare divisions in 2018. To better meet demand, the Specialty Care team has been expanded. The division developed on a profitable path of growth.

Increased therapy adherence thanks to Dailymed
 With Daily­med as a sub-brand, Zur Rose offers individual drug blister packaging: In a box, the drugs for a patient are divided into individual bags according to medical prescription and arranged by time of intake. This makes it easier for people taking multiple drugs each week to take the drugs correctly and is an essential element in increasing therapy adherence. This service is also attractive to nursing homes because it simplifies the preparation process. Collaboration with nursing homes was therefore further intensified. In the year under review Zur Rose promoted Dailymed for the first time with its own website and various online campaigns. New members were added to the consulting team and a special customer service has been set up for the support of Dailymed patients.

Innovative solutions with health insurers
In recent years, health insurers have come under increased regulatory pressure to develop alternative, low-cost compulsory health insurance products. Various insurers have intensified cooperation with Zur Rose and drawn the attention of their policyholders to the low-cost supply channels with segment-specific communication measures. Innovative insurance solutions are in demand: Launched at the beginning of 2018, the model KPT win.easy, which provides for a telemedicine consulting service and stipulates drug purchase via Zur Rose where a prescription is available, has attracted many customers and is well established.

Investments in logistics and information technology
Investments in logistical facilities made it possible to further increase efficiency, reduce throughput time and improve ergonomics at different workplaces. With the construction of a new cold storage cell, the storage capacity for refrigerated products has been increased. In the area of information technology, Zur Rose has continued to replace various legacy systems and integrate new features. This has been the case in the areas of purchasing and in parts of financial accounting and process management. This creates the basis for integrating innovative and promising systems that support the further development of strategic business models.

Zur Rose as an employer
At the end of 2018, Zur Rose employed 360 people in Switzerland. The company expanded its attractive employment conditions in the year under review with various additional benefits. The introduction of an in-house social media platform proved to be an important element in improving internal communication. The digitalisation of HR processes gained traction during the year under review (introduction of e-dossier, e-recruiting). For the first time, Zur Rose was listed among the 250 leading employers in Switzerland. Increasing health awareness is part of the corporate culture and is promoted through actions such as first aid training or free flu vaccination in autumn. A new in-house sports programme also offers employees the opportunity to boost their own fitness levels.