The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has distanced itself from engaging minutes, implying it holds a fifth of drugstores that could finish as a result of the five-year drugstore deal.
Minutes from the Community Pharmacy South Central Local Pharmacy Committee (LPC) November 2019 meeting told the yearly funding of £2.592bn allowed in the contract “will only support 9,000–9,500 drugstores remaining viable companies”.
The Surprising Figures
The times also noted a closing rate of 300 drugstores per year. The observations made at the LPC meeting were told to have come as part of a PSNC update. Nevertheless, Simon Dukes, the chief administrator at the PSNC, announced the company does “not understand these figures, and it is wrong to state them as PSNC policy.”
“The PSNC has not informed about how many entrepreneurs there should be — that is for the market to decide,” he stated, adding that the remarks made were the personal opinion of the PSNC’s regional spokesperson, who had addressed the conference, “which has been conflated with a PSNC update.”
Dukes said The Pharmaceutical Journal in November 2019 that it had modeled how pharmacies would be impacted financially by the contract, but failed to put a precise number on how many drugstores it expected would close.
With 11,539 community pharmacies currently open in England, the figures suggest the closure of at least 2,039 drugstores as a result of the ‘community drugstore contractual framework 2019/2020 to 2023/2024’.
The agreement froze funding at £2.592bn per year for five years, which pharmacists argued would present “significant challenges to what is already a financially strained sector.”
But Gary Warner, the south-central regional PSNC spokesperson who approached the meeting, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the remark he did “wasn’t part of the PSNC conversation.”
The Drugstore Development
“What I was trying to explain to people around the table was how much we have to develop,” he stated, in light of the “fixed envelope” of £2.592bn per year for five years.
“If I glance at my drugstore, at the end of the year, five years ago, I had £80,000 which paid for me as a pharmacologist and £30,000 to take some of the risks of running the business,” he revealed, adding that under the modern funding “not all those [drugstores] that are around now” could last earning that income.
Warner announced his “back of the case” count determined that if 11,500 drugstores all made £80,000 per year with £2.8bn of management funding, about 2,000 fewer pharmacies would be able to obtain the same “within an envelope of £2.6bn”.
“If you want to remain as a pharmacy, you require to change the way you work … you need to take stock of what you do and how you do it because you can’t keep cutting prices,” he stated.
The PSNC understood The Pharmaceutical Journal in September 2019 that it was in “urgent talks” with the government over how the funding would be distributed after North East London LPC published a ‘profit and loss predictor,’ which predicted the closure of pharmacies as a result of the contract.
All In All
Commenting on the LPC minutes, Hemant Patel, secretary of the North East London LPC, told Supreme Pharmaceutical Journal that the predictor “designates that in many areas over 80% of drugstores are seriously concerned about long-term viability”.