The present paper aims at providing an outlook of the portfolio of services developed by the pharmaceutical distribution in Spain and Portugal by looking at the different types and levels of implementation. This paper also provides the research framework that is currently the base for the ongoing data collection, exploring the rationale behind the implementation of different types of services and co-opetitive relationships in relation to the pursuit of profit, the creation of barriers with competitors and the reinforcement of customer loyalty. The impact of these factors on the intention to increase the delivery of services in the future will also be analysed.
In order to address the research framework presented, a quantitative research methodology is suggested through the use of web-based questionnaires. After the identification and categorization of services in this industry, a questionnaire was developed in order to measure the presence of the identified services and their impact on the pursuit of profit, the creation of competitive advantages the improvement of customer loyalty, willingness to further develop these services and co-opetitive relationships. The sample includes Portuguese and Spanish pharmaceutical cooperatives and private companies, operating as wholesalers.
The empirical data is currently being collected therefore the present paper provides solely the analysis of the pharmaceutical industry in both countries and the classification of the services offered in this industry which was used as the basis to develop the questionnaire.
The paper discusses how the pharmaceutical distribution sector has evolved in the past decades and how the concentration process has changed the rules of the market owned by big players who are taking the lead. Additionally, the portfolio of new services that have recently been developed throughout the industry are identified. Some differences between both countries have been found mainly in IT services. The recent establishment of second degree cooperatives generates new perspectives to the suggested influence of co-opetitive relationships.
The present paper is part of an ongoing research project which aims at providing both theoretical and practical implications:
1) The analysis of pharmaceutical wholesalers from a servitization perspective;
2) Application of Baines et al. (2013) classification to the pharmaceutical sector;
3) The adaptation and measurement of co-opetitive relationships within the servitization delivery;
4) Development of instruments to measure the level of implementation and the type of services which can be used in the future to make compared studies in other countries;