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Medicines supply will falter if pharmacies cannot keep their lights on, warns Janet Morrison

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Financial and operational pressures combined with medicines supply and pricing issues have left pharmacy businesses fighting for survival.

Community Pharmacy England (CPE) has cautioned that patients in the UK will continue to encounter difficulties in accessing medicines unless the government addresses supply problems and resolves the critical financial state of community pharmacies.

CPE Chief Executive Janet Morrison and Mike Dent, Director of Pharmacy Funding, on Monday 19 February, gave evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s Pharmacy Inquiry, highlighting the impact of ongoing medicines supply issues on pharmacies and patients.

Morrison indicated that a combination of the ongoing “financial squeeze, operational pressures, and medicines supply and pricing issues” has left pharmacy businesses fighting for survival.

“As the NHS continues to grapple with wider challenges, this is a battle that patients cannot afford for pharmacies to lose,” she said.

Morrison warned that if pharmacies continue to close, not only business owners and pharmacy teams will suffer, but patients and local communities will also face the consequences.

“If pharmacies cannot keep their lights on, medicines supply will falter and access to wider pharmacy services – including Pharmacy First – will also decline,” she said.

She underscored the need for sustainable funding in community pharmacies and a review of the medicines supply market to ensure that all patients can continue to access the medicines and pharmacy services they require.

“Without both these steps, we can expect the current disruption to continue and worsen: as pressures on the health service continue, Government and the NHS can simply not afford to continue to stand by and watch as pharmacies turn out their lights for good,” she added.

According to CPE, community pharmacies have been subjected to a 30 per cent funding cut since 2015.

It is also calling for an investment in community pharmacy’s clinical future and the formulation of a plan to safeguard the pharmacy workforce.

Along with Morrison and Dent, representatives from Diabetes UK, the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) also attended the evidence session.

 

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