Rohaya opened the first pharmacy in Masjid Tanah, Melaka. As there were no pharmacies in the area, she wanted to provide a health and wellness service to the residents. She also tried to make them more aware of such issues.
So in 1996, Farmasi Alang was registered, and she started the business operation selling medicinal items in 1997. Later, she opened another pharmacy named Lawang Rezeki, which sells rehabilitation items.
While she may be the first to establish a pharmacy in Masjid Tanah, there is now competition as nine other pharmacies are operating there.
“Six of them are independent retail pharmacies while three are chain pharmacies,” she shared.
However, she has managed to sustain herself over the years with her two different sections of clientele. She is both retail and wholesale, where she caters to walk-in customers and large governmental bodies, respectively.
Rohaya, who attended the Duopharma Biotech Halal Pharmapreneur Programme, is also an ambassador appointed by Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Melaka to give awareness talks on health, medicine and diseases.
“I’m passionate about educating the public, especially those in the rural areas, about health, wellness as well as about medicines and treatments. I give talks at self-organised events or State government events,” she said, adding she has been the Know Your Medicine Ambassador for the past 10 years.
In 2016, Farmasi Alang, in collaboration with the community leaders around Masjid Tanah, organised a charity for “Sumbangan Peralatan Kesihatan”, donating rehabilitation items such as wheelchairs, canes and commode chairs.
Rohaya plans to expand her business but needed to decide if medicinal pharmacy or rehab pharmacy would be more suitable and lucrative.
The pandemic, she said, only had a slight effect on the business. There was still high demand for personal protection equipment (PPEs), hand sanitisers and face masks.
“We sustained by supplying PPEs and hand sanitisers to government bodies and universities.”
Apart from the contactless and social distancing practices, the business model also switched to the online platform.
“We used Facebook for marketing and sales and used a delivery service. Even my educational talks were done via Facebook during this pandemic.”
She was careful to identify and order only fast-moving items. — The Health