Midlands Pharmacy to shut its doors after 98 years

2008-09-18 00:00

A 98-year-old pharmacy that has become something of an institution in the midlands town of Mooi River will close its doors at the end of the month due to a combination of market-related factors.

Remarkably, the 75-year-old owner of Midlands Pharmacy, Robin Philp, told The Witness that he plans to continue serving as a locum around the wider KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

Philp, who has managed and owned the pharmacy for 42 years, explained that he made the decision after consistently unfavourable trading conditions.

He added that controversial medicine pricing regulations and reduced dispensing fees, introduced in 2006, were contributing factors.

“I am devastated that it has to come to this. Over the last few years, trading conditions have just deteriorated,” he said

Philp, who has always been an active member of the midlands community, is a former Round Table chairman.

He was also chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA) for the Pietermaritzburg region and a town councillor.

Philp was also a veterinary supplier during the early stages of his career at the pharmacy.

He said the pharmacy has held on to old bottles and medicines, as well as prescription books dating back to 1908.

“One of the earlier owners was W.H. Wesley Peck.

“In 1966, I came here to manage the pharmacy, then known as Berg Pharmacy, for Willem Krog, a pharmacist in Howick.

“Before that, it was known as Helletts Pharmacy. I purchased it from him in 1973 and changed the name to Midlands Pharmacy.

“The area is just too small for multiple pharmacies. The final decision was taken over the last year.

‘I plan to do locums around the midlands if anyone will have me,” quipped Philp.

“Everyone here is very sad. We’ve had a wonderful life here and the people of Mooi River are wonderful and it is such a caring community,” added Philp’s wife Denise.

kavith@witness.co.za

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