Ayala buys into popular North Luzon chain St. Joseph Drug

By Miguel R. Camus@miguelrcamusINQ

December 22, 2023 12:00:00

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. is moving into North Luzon with the acquisition of a “significant minority stake” in the 65-year-old St. Joseph Drug.

Established in 1958 by pharmacist Jose “Pepe” Cruz and his wife Leila Lagman, the pharmaceutical company has grown to 112 stores across the region.

“This strategic acquisition enables AC Health to strengthen its pharma footprint and reach more Filipinos throughout the country,” Ayala said in a stock exchange filing on Thursday. The definitive agreements were signed last Dec. 15 between St. Joseph Drug and AC Health’s pharmaceutical arm, AHCHI Pharma Ventures Inc.

AHCHI Pharma Ventures Inc. is the holding company for AC Health’s pharmaceutical businesses, which include Generika Drugstore and I.E. Medica and MedEthix, its pharma importation and distribution units.

“The addition of St. Joseph Drug to our portfolio is in line with our commitment to enhance accessibility and affordability of healthcare for Filipinos nationwide. St. Joseph Drug, alongside our existing retail pharma brand, Generika Drugstore, will expand our capacity and footprint to distribute quality and affordable medicine to our countrymen,” AC Health CEO Paolo Borromeo said in the filing.

“Together with our pharma importation businesses IE Medica and MedEthix, we will greatly enhance synergies and efficiencies within our pharmacy platform to further improve our products and services throughout our AC Health network,” he added.

The head of St. Joseph Drug also welcomed the milestone deal.

“We are proud to have established St. Joseph Drug as a household name in Northern Luzon over the years, and we look forward to broadening our reach with AC Health,” said Ma. Socorro Dorotea “Gigi” Cruz, chair, CEO and president of St. Joseph Drug. INQ