About Dis-Chem Pharmacies

Dis-Chem has been South Africa’s first choice in pharmacies since 1978, with our linked dispensaries, family clinics, wound-care clinics and comprehensive self-medication centres.

As a leading specialist in beauty, healthy food, sport supplements, health and well-being, we offer the widest ranges in these categories and expert advice.


Dis-Chem was founded when recently qualified pharamacists, Ivan and Lynette Saltzman, opened their first retail pharmacy in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg, South Africa. The retail pharmacy introduced the concept of a discount pharmacy with product categories not previously offered in South African pharmacies.

The Saltzman’s second retail pharmacy followed at the Randridge Mall in Randburg, north of Johannesburg. Towards the end of the 1980s, Dis-Chem began expanding its offering of non-pharmaceutical products or its “front shop” offering, and opened a third retail pharmacy. The business continued to expand in the 1990s.

Dis-Chem expanded its offering to include non-pharmaceutical/front shop products.

Dis-Chem started selling its own private label line of non-pharmaceutical products.

Launch of the Loyalty Benefits Programme.

First store opened in Cape Town and national store rollout followed.

The Saltzmans established the Dis-Chem Foundation, which supports charitable causes in South Africa.

Dis-Chem’s partner store concept whereby Dis-Chem acquires a majority stake in an independent pharmacy and converts it into a Dis-Chem store, was conceived. The concept, alongside opening of greenfield stores, accelerated the growth of Dis-Chem’s store footprint.

Dis-Chem acquired controlling stake in CJ Distribution, together with a non-controlling interest in Pharmacy Development Academy and Evening Star, which marked its entry into the wholesale business.

The online shopping platform was introduced.

Dis-Chem was voted the best pharmacy brand by Readers Digest South Africa.

The first store was opened outside South Africa, in Windhoek, Namibia.

The 100th Dis-Chem store opened.

Dis-Chem purchased the remaining stake in CJ Distribution and increased interest in Pharmacy Development Academy and Evening Star to controlling shares in each, and began to combine the operations of CJ Group with Dis-Chem’s pre-existing wholesale business. CJ Group’s CEO became Dis-Chem’s head of CJ Distribution.

In November, the group listed 27.5% of its listed share capital on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It was the second largest public offering (IPO) on the exchange. Upon listing, Dis-Chem became the 100% shareholder in 9 of its stores which are co-owned by Dis-Chem and independent pharmacists.

The first integrated report is issued. Ivan and Lynette Saltzman continue to lead as Dis-Chem’s CEO and Managing Director, respectively.

Dis-Chem celebrates its 40th birthday/anniversary.

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