More than 80 years of history for The Welcoop Cooperative. Let’s go back to 1935, when it all started…
In 1935, several pharmacists joined together to create the Nancy Pharmacists Cooperative (Coopérative des Pharmaciens Nancéiens, or CPN in French), to enable group buying. Through the years, the Group’s activity became more defined, with a clearer strategy. No fewer than 8 subsidiaries have joined The Welcoop Cooperative to make it capable of responding fully to today’s patient needs.
Strength in numbers
In Nancy, at the beginning of the 1930s, an idea emerges: some pharmacists decide to group their purchases to obtain better deals from manufacturers. On 6th October 1935, the Nancy Pharmacists Cooperative is born.
In 1937, there are already 200 pharmacists in the cooperative.
Despite a complicated period during the war, the cooperative bounces back and continues its mission while adapting to advances in regulation and medicine (formalisation of the distributor sector, discovery of penicillin, creation of the social security system etc.) during this time. At the beginning of the 60s, the Nancy Pharmacists Cooperative serves 500 pharmacists.
Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution in Lorraine
On 14th November 1965, the Nancy Pharmacists Cooperative becomes the Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution in Lorraine (Coopérative d’Expansion et de Répartition Pharmaceutique de Lorraine, or CERP Lorraine in French).
In 1971, the Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution decides to restructure its organization moving from a single Board of Directors to a Management Board coupled with a Supervisory Board: this system is still in place today.
In the 80s, the Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution continues its expansion, setting up in several regions of France as well as in Belgium, while developing its home health care and pharmacy software businesses.
Creation of the Marque Verte brand
While supermarket chains begin to challenge the pharmaceutical market, previously reserved for pharmacies, the cooperative decides to create its own exclusive “Marque Verte” pharmacy brand.
Starting to diversify services
The Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution in Lorraine continues to expand its activities, supporting pharmacist professionals by offering new services. These include: investment in import-export which results in savings of up to 1€ a box for the pharmacist; launch of the first integrated portal management software (Logiciel de Gestion à Portail Intégré, or LGPI in French) used today by 50% of pharmacists; creation of the Pharm’Objectif group allowing members to better negotiate purchases; development of its own logistic platforms; and the addition of the company Malta Informatique to strengthen the pharmacy-healthcare establishment link.
The CERP in Lorraine becomes Welcoop
With the sale of its distribution business, the Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution in Lorraine focuses on sectors with high added value for the future of the profession. Thus, the Pharmaceutical Cooperative for Expansion and Distribution in Lorraine becomes Welcoop. Its new visual identity, launched in 2011, shows a green head turned towards the future, a symbol of anticipation and optimism.
It creates Cristers, a unique pharmacist-owned generic medicine manufacturer, which shows steady growth to this day.
Citizens for health and well-being
The Welcoop Cooperative continues its diversification and, going forward, allows each patient, each consumer to find the pharmacist best suited to their needs in terms of products and services, while preserving the independence of the professional pharmacist.
The objective is therefore to make healthcare accessible to all, based on pharmacists as coordinators of healthcare in a spirit of sharing and ambition.
The Welcoop Cooperative has brought the cooperative spirit up-to-date, going beyond a simple customer/supplier relationship. As part of the wider community, it is committed to encouraging all members of the cooperative to be citizens for health and well-being.
First European healthcare platform
Beyond the pharmacy, The Welcoop Cooperative works with all healthcare professionals. With its “Patient Centric” strategy and a strong belief in the technology-human duo, its ambition is to become the first European healthcare platform. This will be a secure platform which allows patient data to be collected and made available to different healthcare professionals, making the patient healthcare journey smoother.