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NPA survey: Majority of independent pharmacy owners witness negative cashflow in 2022

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The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) survey revealed that 93 per cent of respondents experienced ‘at least one month’ of negative cash flow across their pharmacy business in 2022.

Nine out of 10 pharmacy owners responding to NPA survey said they made a net loss dispensing medicines for the NHS during 2022, for at least one month of the year.

According to the poll, 48 per cent of them lost money on this core NHS service for six months or more. 45 per cent said their overall outgoings had exceeded overall income in at least six months of the year.

NPA Chair Andrew Lane said: “This survey shows the bleak financial reality facing many independent pharmacies after years of underfunding. Dispensing at a loss and negative cashflow is clearly unsustainable.”

“This funding crisis must be addressed urgently or pharmacies will fall into a spiral of declining services and ultimately widespread closures, he added. “Tragically, the story is playing out very much in line with independent research commissioned by the NPA last year, which warned of a nationwide financial emergency in our sector.”

Thirty-three per cent of the respondent said they had reduced their opening hours to limit the cost and 59 per cent had reduced staffing. 38 per cent had limited or stopped some NHS services and a majority (59 per cent) had limited or stopped previously free support like home deliveries or introduced charges.

The survey also noticed that 40 per cent of owners had increased bank borrowing in 2022 to maintain operations. 20 per cent had asked families for financial assistance.

More than 200 independent pharmacy owners and senior managers took part in the survey, which ran online in February 2023.

 

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