The National Pharmacy Association has vehemently opposed General Pharmaceutical Council’s latest proposal to increase registration fees for pharmacy premises by a whopping 39 per cent.

In it’s response to the GPhC’s Consultation on the draft 2020 fees rules proposed todaythe NPA said it couldn’t “possibly support” such a “big percentage increase at a time when community pharmacy finances are already under immense pressure.”

“GPhC says it needs to cover its costs, however pharmacy contractors are bound to ask if the regulator is working as hard as pharmacies themselves to deliver efficiencies. We will now take soundings from NPA members and give our formal, detailed response to GPhC in March,” the pharmacy body said.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: “PSNC works collaboratively with the GPhC; we recognise the importance of regulation and we support the need for that function to be properly funded. However, any further increase in costs for community pharmacy contactors comes at a particularly difficult time when businesses are already facing significant financial challenges from a combination of rising costs, capacity issues and flat funding”.

The pharmacy regulator is proposing to raise the registration and renewal fees for pharmacy premises from £262 to £365. However, GPhC has clarified that there are no plans to increase fees for pharmacists or technicians as part of the consultation.

GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said: “We recognise the financial pressures that pharmacy owners are under and any uplift in fees is only proposed when necessary.”

Rudkin said the changes were for a robust and sustainable financial framework with fees that reflect the true cost of regulation.

“Since 2013, we have introduced significant changes in how we regulate and inspect pharmacies, improving the effectiveness of our regulatory approach and bringing benefits to patients, the public and pharmacies,” he said.

The first phase of the consultation runs from today until the end of March. If adopted, the new arrangements would come into place from October.

When asked by Pharmacy Business, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said it would submit a formal response to the GPhC proposal after consulting with its members across the UK.

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