Is pharmacy as a business becoming unsustainable, asks Nick Hunter, LPC chief officer, Community Pharmacy Nottinghamshire
Readers will no doubt be aware that the funding cuts to community pharmacy fees are now starting to bite, not least because of the media coverage of LloydsPharmacy’s decision to close 190 pharmacies across its estate. It is not just the cuts to core funding that are causing difficulties for community pharmacies – there are several other factors affecting cash flow which ultimately increase costs, as they generally require some form of additional loan to make ends meet.
Contributors to cash flow problems, aside from the usual such as calendar effects, include no cheaper stock obtainable (NCSO), brand switching and stock shortages.
These issues are so damaging, because the pharmacy will often have to spend more than they are reimbursed for the medication in order to obtain it, or at least get much less discount or margin than the NHS assumes and deducts from their account.