Blazing a trail in the world of retail pharmacy is Oonagh O’Hagan, owner and Managing Director of Alitam member, Meaghers.

She has single-handedly built the business into a nine-store presence in Dublin, employing 130 people, and established as a leading online pharmacy site in Ireland. Oonagh is one of Ireland’s most decorated entrepreneurs and sits on many influential industry boards. It all began just four years after qualifying as a pharmacist, with nothing behind her but a remarkable drive and vision to transform the pharmacy offering.

And the vision? To be Ireland’s leading health-focused pharmacy and beauty group with the health and well-being of her customers central to her success. Even in her early twenties, as a trainee pharmacist working under her tutor Pierce Meagher in Baggot Street, Oonagh could see this major potential.

“From my first visit to Meaghers I knew this long established pharmacy opened by the Meaghers family in the 1920’s could be so much more than a dispensing chemist,” says Oonagh. Today Meaghers is the Dublin destination for the latest trending wellness, skincare and beauty products, and it’s leading the fight against Type-2 diabetes and Non Fatty Liver disease with innovative services and expert pharmacist support. “My passion is to empower our customers with expert knowledge in healthcare, wellness, beauty and skincare so that they can make informed choices that are bespoke to their own health and well-being,” says Oonagh.

In 2014, Oonagh was an early adopter in offering her customers a multichannel shopping experience and allowing her customers to shop in-store, online and through the highly engaged social channels. This forward-thinking has led the Meaghers business expand into new markets and whilst having physical stores only in Dublin, Oonagh serves customers the length and breadth of Ireland and now ships to 58 countries across the globe.

Oonagh brings retail flair and a keen commercial sense to every aspect of the business, even down to wrapping each online order ‘boutique style.’ Says Oonagh, “As with any successful retail enterprise, you must put the customer first. Together with my excellent team, we work hard to make Meaghers a place of trust, a cornerstone of the community and quite simply the pharmacy who cares about you and your family. That, together with an extensive range of top quality brands, products and services and the advice on what best supports your health and well-being, is what makes us special.”

As an Executive Director of the Alitam board, Oonagh is sharing her wisdom and retail expertise with the other UK and Ireland Alitam pharmacy members. Oonagh says, “I’m honoured to have won so many business accolades, but my next ambition as part of Alitam is to radically change what ‘pharmacy’ means to our consumers. It is time to reposition and expand the role of the pharmacist, as a critical professional within the healthcare ecosystem. We are highly trained professionals and have the skills to deliver chronic illness management programs together with new innovative preventative healthcare services right here within our communities.

It’s incredibly exciting to share this vision with my fellow team, and have access to such future-focused and strategic brilliance. Pharmacies are poised to take a key place, not just in people’s minds, but in their hearts, and make a true and lasting difference within our communities.”