Galenica is the leading fully-integrated healthcare provider in Switzerland. We operate the largest network of pharmacies in Switzerland and offer well-known own brands and products, exclusive brands and products from business partners as well as a variety of on-site health services and tests for customers. With over 500 own, joint venture and independent partner pharmacies, our network of pharmacies offers unique potential for the sale of these and other brands. We are also the leading provider of pre-wholesale and wholesale distribution services in the Swiss healthcare market.
1927: Establishing of a joint purchasing centre
16 pharmacists in Western Switzerland establish a joint purchasing centre under the name of Collaboration Pharmaceutique SA.
1932: New name: Galenica Ltd.
The purchasing centre flourishes and the range of products becomes popular countrywide. The head office is transferred to Bern and the company is renamed Galenica Ltd.
1938: Launch of a scientific documentation service
A scientific documentation service is launched as a logical addition to the wholesale business.
1957: Galenica diversifies into new areas
The targeted acquisition and creation of affiliates allow Galenica to diversify into new areas.
Creation of Galenica Representations Ltd., specialised in the distribution of foreign products for doctors, as well as the acquisition of Panpharma Ltd., specialised in the distribution of parapharmaceutical products to pharmacies.
1972: Expansion of the activities
With the creation of Adima Ltd., the cosmetics sector is added to the Group’s activities. Galenica now has 660 employees.
1977: Publication of the first Codex Galenica
Galenica celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Publication of the first complete reference book containing all pharmaceutical products sold in Switzerland: the Codex Galenica, today known as the Swiss Drug Compendium.
Galenica acquires the manufacturing companies Vifor Ltd. and Cooper Ltd., which operate in the areas of hospital supplies and pharmaceutical products.
1979: Galenica is converted to a holding
Galenica is converted to a holding company and makes an initial public offer of participation shares. However, the shares are still solely held by Swiss pharmacists.
1983: Acquisition of Hausmann Laboratories
Galenica acquires the majority of the share-capital of Laboratorien Hausmann Ltd., in St. Gallen. The company is specialised in perfusions and sterile solutions, as well as iron products.
1988: New Position: Chief Executive Officer
As part of the «new market regulations» that come into force on 1 January 1987, Galenica instigates various new measures in all its areas of activity.
Creation of the position of Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for the operational management of the Group. A new concept for management training and human resources management is drawn up.
Galenica takes over a majority holding in Internationale Verbandstoff-Fabrik (IVF) Schaffhausen.
1993: Distribution as core business
Galenica largely returns to its core business and divests various business fields including hospital supplies.
The head office of Galenica Ltd., today Galexis Ltd., is transferred to the new building in Bern-Schönbühl.
Laboratorien Hausmann AG, today Vifor (International) Ltd., concentrates on the manufacture of iron products for treating iron-deficiency diseases, while Vifor Ltd. develops and produces OTC medicines for the Swiss market.
1994: Open share capital for public shareholders
The share capital is open to the public shareholders.
The extended production building of Vifor Ltd. in Villars-sur-Glâne is implemented.
1996: New strategy
Spurred on by the rapid changes sweeping the market, the management formulates a new vision and strategy.
The acquisition of the Amidro Group and the doctors’ supplier SWW
StotzerWybergWyss Ltd. (today Galexis Ltd.) support the implementation
of the Group’s strategic targets.
Logistical operations are concentrated in three distribution centres instead of eleven (Bern-Schönbühl, Zurich-Schlieren and Lausanne-Ecublens). A universal software optimises business processes. The distribution centres now supply pharmacists, doctors, druggists and hospitals – setting a key trend for the entire Group.
1998: Group’s internationalisation
Sizeable sums of money are spent on developing new products for Vifor Ltd. with the aim of driving forward the Group’s internationalisation.
Acquisition of Laboratoire Golaz AG, specialised in OTC and prescription products.
1999: IPO for the total share capital and establishment of a pharmacy chain
The Articles of Incorporation are amended to facilitate an IPO for the entire share capital.
The acquisition of the Medichemie Group strengthens Galenica’s position in the Swiss healthcare market with its herbal remedies as well as gastroenterological products.
Through its partnership with Alliance UniChem, a pan-European group, Galenica makes further inroads into the European market, particularly in the field of prewholesaling with Alloga Europe.
Thanks to a second joint venture with Alliance UniChem, GaleniCare Holding Ltd., Galenica intends to create a pharmacy chain in Switzerland.
2000: US approval for Venofer®
The new organisational structure of the Galenica Group comes into force; a new visual identity is the outward symbol of this change.
Business is extremely successful and the Group is well equipped for the challenges of the future. The American FDA (Food And Drug Administration) approves the sale of the iron product Venofer® on the American market, and construction work starts on the new production plant for Vifor (International) Ltd. in St. Gallen.
A new distribution System (NOVA 2002) in the Distribution Business sector (today Logistics) enables Galenica to gear itself for the deregulation of the Swiss healthcare market.
The Retail Business sector is expanded through the acquisition of several pharmacies.
2002: Acquisition of Anti-Brumm®
Galenica celebrates its 75th anniversary and takes further steps in turning its vision into reality. As an enduring gesture it makes a sizeable donation towards the construction of the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern.
With the acquisition of Eduard Vogt AG, Galenica gains the Anti-Brumm® insect repellent.
2003: Introduction unit share and acquisition Documed
A single type of share is introduced and replaces the previous system of registered A and B shares.
Galenica completes a private placement of CHF 215 million with a group of international insurance companies. The proceeds of the financing will be used for general corporate purposes as well as to refinance outstanding bank loans under existing lines of credit.
With the acquisition of Potter’s (Herbal Supplies) Ltd., Galenica lays the first stepping stone in its expansion into the rest of Europe.
Furthermore, together with EMH Editores Medicorum Helveticorum, Galenica takes over the medical publishing house Documed Ltd., the publisher of the Swiss Drug Compendium.
2004: Acquisition Perskindol®
The Annual General Meeting decides to create an authorised share capital by amending the Articles of Incorporation.
Galenica takes over the manufacturer of Perskindol®, Pharma Singer Ltd.
The Group has tripled its staff in the last 10 years and now has over 3,000 employees. Vifor Ltd., Democal AG, Adima AG, Panpharma AG, Eduard Vogt AG and Medichemie AG merge into one company, Vifor Ltd.
2005: New uniform name: Amavita
The Galenica Group transfers its full share of the European pre-wholesale business to its strategic partner Alliance Unichem.
In return, it takes over sole control of Alloga in Switzerland and GaleniCare Holding. Vifor (International) Ltd. signs long-term cooperation agreements to market existing and future iron products on the American market. In addition, the American Food and Drug Administration approves Venofer® for sale in the USA for treating pre-dialysis patients with iron-based anaemia.
Galenica decides to build a new distribution centre in Niederbipp (canton of Bern) which should be operational in 2008, replacing the Galexis distribution centres in Bern-Schönbühl and Zurich-Schlieren.
Under the new name Amavita and with a uniform brand image, the GaleniCare pharmacies are transformed into the largest pharmacy chain in Switzerland.
2006: Registration files for Ferinject® submitted in Switzerland and the EU
Registration files for the new iron-based product Ferinject® are submitted in Switzerland as well as in 17 countries of the European Union.
By acquiring several brands in the UK, Galenica takes a key step towards expanding abroad via its British subsidiary, Potters. With the launch of Vitana®, Vifor offers a new multivitamin product with iron in Switzerland.
Galexis receives the building permit for the new logistics centre in Niederbipp (canton of Bern). Documed publishes the first edition of Basis-Brevier™, which compares original products with generics.
The new touch screen function of the TriaPharm® pharmacy software offers many advantages for clients from an ergonomic perspective. About half of all Amavita pharmacies are equipped with TriaPharm®.
The 100th Amavita pharmacy is opened in December. The new Amavita Partnership model, offering a franchising system for independent pharmacists, is launched.
2007: First market approval for Ferinject® and acquisition of Aspreva
The Group took significant strategic decisions and reached important milestones in various key projects.
The acquisitions of the Canadian listed company Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corporation and MediService, the Swiss specialty pharmacy, are of long-term strategic importance.
The new iron replacement product Ferinject® has been approved in 18 EU countries and in Switzerland.
The distribution centre in Niederbipp is scheduled to begin operations soon. The Galenica Group pharmacy network was expanded to a total of 228 locations.
2008: Opening of the new Galexis distribution centre in Niederbipp
In 2008, the Galenica Group again reached important milestones of long-term strategic importance.
The integration of the Canadian Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corporation and the formation of Vifor Pharma – in which all companies of the Pharma business sector are united under one umbrella – were completed successfully. This strengthened the Group particularly in the areas of clinical development, registration, medical affairs, marketing and international activities. More subsidiaries were built up in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Singapore. By the end of the year, Ferinject® had been launched in eight European countries. Furthermore, Galenica entered into a strategic joint venture with Fresenius Medical Care to market Venofer® and Ferinject® for use in dialysis treatment.
With the opening of the new Galexis distribution centre in Niederbipp – one of the most advanced and efficient logistics centres in Europe – Galenica substantially expanded its logistics capacities.
The pharmacy network was expanded to include some highly attractive locations; at the end of 2008, it comprised 155 of its own pharmacies (Amavita, Coop Vitality, MediService and associates) as well as 104 independent partner pharmacies (Amavita and Winconcept partners).
2009: Acquisition of Sun Store and OM Pharma
In 2009, Galenica made huge investments in preparing for the future.
With the acquisition of the Sun Store pharmacy chain, the Retail business sector took a decisive step forward on its strategic path to expansion.
The acquisition of OM Pharma strengthened the Pharma business sector with interesting products and an international organisation with distribution partners, while at the same time contributing to diversification.
By the end of 2009, Vifor Pharma had established its own sales affiliates in 11 countries, and Ferinject® had been launched in 13 European countries. The very positive findings of the FAIR-HF study, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), set a first internationally important milestone in raising awareness among the medical community of iron deficiency anaemia outside dialysis.
Galexis achieved the targeted availability of over 98% at its new distribution centre in Niederbipp, and Alloga gained significant volume with the integration of Globopharm, which it acquired in early 2009.
The government’s eHealth strategy, which was stepped up in 2009, confirms the strategy in the area of information management. Various content and process products will be further developed with this aspect in mind.
2010: Expansion of Ferinject® progressing
Ferinject® was launched in the markets of 14 countries at the end of 2010.
A further milestone was the foundation of a common company with Fresenius Medical Care. The product portfolio of the new company Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma comprises Venofer® and Ferinject® in the area of dialysis and predialysis as well as PA21, a novel iron-based phosphate binder. In addition, Vifor Pharma entered into a partnership with Kissei Pharmaceutical on the further development and marketing of PA21 in Japan.
At the end of 2010 Galenica's pharmacy network included 279 of its own pharmacies and 133 partner pharmacies. With a total of 412 pharmacies, it forms the largest network in Switzerland.
Galexis' distribution centre in Niederbipp achieved the targeted performance capacity. An excellent development for Galexis was the signing of a multi-year exclusive contract with Procter&Gamble (P&G) Prestige Products. Alloga successfully completed the integration of Globopharm in 2010, and HealthCare Information intensified the rollout of the latest version of the pharmacy software TriaPharm®.
The website of the Galenica Group was redeveloped and given a new contemporary design.
2011: Application submitted for Injectafer® in the USA
Luitpold Pharmaceuticals Inc., has submitted a New Drug Application for Injectafer® in the USA.
Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma began operations in the USA and expanded its operations to Europe and other countries after receiving approval from the competition authorities. Phase III trials for the novel phosphate binder PA21 were started.
Galexis continued to expand its service offering, for example with the introduction of the Parcel Service and was the first company to negotiate a euro rebate on approximately 5,000 items, passing on the resulting price reductions to its customers. Alloga developped a new transport coolbox under the name of Alloga SC Box.
At the end of 2011, Galenica's pharmacy network included 289 directly owned pharmacies and 161 partner pharmacies. Nestlé chose Amavita as its exclusive partner for the launch of BabyNes. Winconcept's entry into the Ticino market was successful with 22 Feelgood's pharmacies. Documed launched a digital version of the Swiss Drug Compendium for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (KompendiumApp) as well as an optimized online version for other smartphones, e-book readers, Windows and Mac.
2012: First registration filed for PA21
The intravenous iron drug Ferinject® enjoyed a year of particularly strong growth, with worldwide sales up 48.4% to CHF 127.1 million.
By year end 2012, Ferinject® was registered in 43 countries and had been launched in 35 markets. In addition, Ferinject® was included in a number of new treatment guidelines, including for chronic heart failure and gastroenterological diseases.
In close cooperation with Fresenius Medical Care, the first registration filing for the new phosphate binder PA21 was submitted to the European Medicines Agency EMA at the end of 2012.
In Logistics, the Alloga coolbox was introduced with nearly all customers, and the GALecoline® product range was expanded. In Retail, the product lines were harmonised, and there were additional own-brand products and service offerings for customers.
HealthCare Information launched a new, userfriendly application from TriaPharm® at practically all Amavita pharmacies and also began introducing the application at the Sun Store pharmacies.
2013: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for Injectafer® and for Velphoro®
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for Injectafer® for the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia and for Velphoro® to control serum phosphorus levels in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis.
Further milestones were the acquisition of Medifilm, the leading Swiss company in the field of blister packaging for medicines, as well as the acquisition of a minority stake in the pharmacy Bahnhof Apotheke Zurich.
2014: One Group, two strategies and a new vision
Galenica introduces a new management structure with two CEOs, who start working towards a new vision with their team:
Vifor Pharma and Galenica Santé will now develop to become two independent listed companies.
Galenica and Roche enter into an exclusive licensing agreement for the marketing and distribution of the Roche Mircera® product in the USA and Puerto Rico.
In order to play an even more active and dynamic role in the market, Galenica Santé changes its organisational structure: the three Business sectors are now called “Products & Brands”, “Retail” and “Services”.
2017: Galenica Santé new at the Exchange
The shares of Galenica Santé Ltd. are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange since the 07.04.2017.
2018: Verfora – new name, same strategy
Vifor Consumer Health was rebranded Verfora as of 1 June 2018, the company’s strategy remains the same: Verfora positions itself as a strong specialist trade partner for pharmacies and drugstores in Switzerland.
2019: Bichsel acquisition
On 1 May 2019, the Galenica Group acquired a majority stake in the Bichsel Group. The company specializes in the manufacture of individual medicines and medical devices as well as home care services in the field of home nutrition and home dialysis.