Mariano Que, who pioneered piecemeal drug retailing in the Philippines and whose Mercury Drug store chain controlled 80 percent of pharmaceutical retail in the country, died on April 12 at the age of 96.
Mercury Drug announced Que’s death on its Facebook page on Good Friday, without providing details. It however requested the public to donate to their favorite charities in lieu of flowers.
After the Japanese occupation, medicines became costly and scarce, and Que saw a business opportunity. He bought a bottle of sulfathiazole, a “wonder drug” at the time, from a peddler on Bambang Street in Manila for P100, and sold the tablets by piece or “tingi.”
“With some profit, he was able to purchase other medicines and eventually a pushcart, which he loaded with his growing supply of pharmaceutical goods,” Mercury Drug says on its website.
“From these humble beginnings, the first Mercury Drug store opened on March 1, 1945 on Bambang Street.”
Que received an honorary doctorate degree in humanities, honoris causa, from UST on Sept. 9, 2015 for his work in the pharmaceutical industry and philanthropy.
Mercury Drug has more than 1,000 stores and over 12,000 employees nationwide.