Growing concern over potential threat of online repeats
Or put another way, growing realisation of the threat. Something we have been warning of for years. We posted this in the comments section of C & D's article http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/news-content/-/article_display_list/18342213/concern-raised-over-potential-gp-stake-in-online-repeats-service?cid=ENL-CDNEW-DAILYB
We believe the pharmacy sector will undergo rapid and significant change as it becomes digitised. Although really we could (possibly should) be more direct and candid: -
Not just the PSNC who were "asleep" on this as the other poster commented but many in leadership of independent pharmacy have been burying their heads in the sand or just simply haven't lived through an industry digitising and have not understood the implications. Have to be careful what i say here as P2U are well know for being itchy trigger fingered with heavyweight lawyers but they have form on promoting themselves to GPs (seem to remember it was suggested they allegedly tried to promote a "send prescription to p2u" button in EMIS software a few years ago.) As the other poster says they are part owned by EMIS who also own RX. We have been warning of the inherent dangers of that setup for years now. This current idea of theirs is not new. Do a
quick search for doctorschemist and mydoctorschemist on google - a GP from
the southwest has been trying to sell internet pharmacy franchises to GPs for a while.
As we have been saying for a considerable time and i commented recently on
C&D, when sectors are digitised they change profoundly and pharmacy will not
be an exception. This is just the tip of the iceberg and it's what the government wants. The main motive behind this at the DoH is reducing cost. EPS enables hub and spoke, increased automation and fewer larger drug buyers and shortened supply chains enabling the further reduction in the average cost per item paid out to pharmacy. Which is all fine if you are Boots and you have infrastructure and size to take advantage of those economies of scale but a death toll for independents unless the law / contract changes to allow independents to federate and run hubs or sub-contract out some fulfilment to third party hubs themselves and earn extra revenue from delivering services. (How long will it be before Alphega pharmacies are offered use of Boots hubs I wonder?)
I think we also have to see this in the political context. The purse strings to the NHS have been given to GPs and now they are all involved in a huge collective lobby that they aren't paid enough to cope or to open at weekends or actually go and visit old people in their homes etc and the government is likely to double down and "adjust" the rules to let
them earn more income...