Cornishman Dudley Taylor handed down his pharmacy chain to his three sons in the early 1980s. But 80% of the profits of Dudley Taylor (Holdings) now derive from Warwick-based Dowelhurst, a subsidiary the brothers set up in 1984. Dowelhurst holds the UK rights to import and repackage big-name drug brands, including the anti-depressant drug, Prozac, and the ulcer drug, Losec. It buys these drugs cheaply from manufacturers in the EU, many of which are multinational drug companies. It then repackages the drugs and sells them at prices which undercut the British divisions of these same multinationals. All this is much to the dismay of the multinationals, which recently launched a High Court challenge to stop the practice, hoping effectively to destroy the parallel importers’ trade. Spearheaded by Richard Taylor, managing director of Dowelhurst, the case was recently decided in favour of the parallel importers, and has been referred to the European Court of Justice for confirmation. Profits rose by 49% pa from £3.1m in 1996 to £10.1m in 1999. Sales rose by 28% pa to £147.1m in the same period. Taylor attributes this profit growth to the expansion of Dowelhurst’s licence range and sterling’s buying power in Europe.
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