‘We can expect to lose well-loved brands’ – CEO, Chemimart Group

Pierre Fava

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 January, 2021 at 9:11 am by Andre Camilleri

“Things are changing, and in many cases, it’s just not viable to bring in small quantities of pharmaceuticals anymore from the UK” Pierre Fava, Chemimart Group CEO told the Malta Business Weekly when contacted with about the impact of Brexit on pharmaceutical products.

Increase in costs, changes in legislation, licencing, and even language barriers on the packaging were among Fava’s concerns.

“We have had to source an external company in the UK to prepare importation documentation for our company, ultimately the bottom line of expenses is falling on us – the distributors”. Since the UK left the bloc on the 1st of January, many Maltese business sectors have been impacted. Fava explains Malta had been following the UK framework.

Fava said that “We have one year to use medicinal products with British packaging before we must switch over to EU compliant licences. We cannot release products intended for the British market after this point. Some of our suppliers have switched to having products forwarded to Germany for EU market distribution, which is helpful in terms of QP release – however, others have not. Sourcing within the EU poses an issue for us due to languages on the packaging itself.” He added that “legally, we can’t have packages here of products which nobody understands. Fortunately, the local Medicines Authority have been very helpful in guiding us through this process. This doesn’t just apply to medicines, but other health-related products such as vitamins.”

The Chemimart CEO emphasised that some suppliers have switched to the Republic of Ireland. “However, we still need to ship the products here via the UK. This within itself presents additional fees and red tape from a logistics perspective. I would say we can expect these shipping fees to be around 5-10% higher than previously”

“Smaller quantities are just not viable to import any more, neither for us as the local distributor, nor for the supplier in the UK. As a result, we can expect to see some well-known brands drop off the radar as we navigate our way through this transitional period, and until we source EU based alternatives.”

Chemimart was established in the early sixties, with the opening of its first outlet in the then known as Freedom Square, Valletta. These premises had to give way for the Renzo Piano project and relocated to the capital city entrance. Over the years, Chemimart has become a household name for prestigious brands of perfumeries, cosmetics, toiletries, and many healthcare products. It is wholly owned and run by the Fava family. Reginald, the father and founder, holds the Chairmanship of the company. His two children, Pierre and Graziella, are joint managing. And now coming up to the scene are the founder’s grandchildren, Petra and Matthias.

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