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Pharmacy majors reassure on steady supply of medicines

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Leading pharmacy chains said they are taking steps to maintain safe and steady supply of medicines and healthcare services as COVID-19 crisis looms large over the UK.

As people are stocking up on painkillers and hand sanitisers pharmacies have seen a surge in customers, forcing many to ration supplies.

“You might have noticed that we’ve set a limit on the number of certain items you can buy. Thank you for supporting us and appreciating these limits as we try to help as many people as possible,” Seb James, Managing Director Boots UK said in a statement on Tuesday (17 March).

Seb James

James said the chain continues to have stock in the supply chain of hand sanitisers and other high demand products like children’s medicine, pain relief and hygiene products. Hand sanitisers are being sent to stores each day to meet the “exceptional demand,” he added.

Boots will also offer free delivery of prescriptions for their NHS online repeat prescription service.

In a separate statement, James appealed to the public to desist from panic buying.

“We ask our customers to speak to our teams for ways they can proactively manage their prescriptions if they are in self isolation; and to only buy the medicines they need now so we can make sure as many people as possible can access the products they need,” he said.

Toby Anderson, chief executive of LloydsPharmacy parent McKesson UK, said the company has processes in place with suppliers and manufacturers to help minimise the impact of shortages and ensure a consistent supply of critical products.

“Our priority is to make sure that everyone has access to the medication that they need, when they need it, so we are doing everything we can to ensure availability, despite increasing demand and supply challenges,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Toby Anderson

Anderson informed that the company, which also has AAH Pharmaceuticals in its fold, will not be building additional stockholding within its supply chain, in line with the Department of Health and Social Care guidelines, to limit the risk of future potential medicine shortages.

“We will continue to monitor unusual downstream sales patterns, and we will act where needed to mitigate the risk of inappropriate bulk buying through effective product quota management,” he added.

Well Pharmacy has last week committed to holding the price of core lines where possible and introducing new competitively priced lines to meet the rising demand.

“We care for the health and wellbeing of our patients and customers and won’t seek to profiteer from this situation,” it said in a statement on Friday (13 March)

The chain has limited purchases of hand sanitiser in all its pharmacies to two per customer. The group also has pharmaceutical grade face masks available in store to meet the consumer requests.

Well said its supply chain network is coping well, with plenty of stock of key supplies.

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