Hemant Patel is Secretary of North East London LPC

Leading pharmacy figure Hemant Patel has said that only pharmacies which are agile will survive the online invasion of companies such as Amazon.

Speaking on the second day of Sigma Conference in Cebu in the Philippines, Patel said: I do not believe for one second within the network that the fittest will survive. The biggest pharmacies will not necessarily survive. Only the most agile pharmacies will survive.”

There has been considerable concern within the community pharmacy sector following news that online retail giant Amazon has filed to trademark “Amazon Pharmacy” in the UK.

The chief executive of online-only service Pharmacy2U, which currently has 350 employees, has revealed plans to create up to 150 new jobs over the next two years. The company manage repeat prescriptions from request to delivery, which have traditionally remained a community pharmacy mainstay.

Patel – who leads the North East London local pharmaceutical committee – has always held his belief that the current pharmacy model was deeply flawed.

He noted that the rise of online pharmacy was one of the reasons why a lot of contractors were “selling up” their businesses.

“The current community pharmacy model, not the network but the model, is in terminal and accelerating decline,” Patel said.

He said it even was possible that the whole network of community pharmacy could we wiped out if it continued to remain “reluctant to change.”

But those who worked together, people who would happily collaborate were more likely to survive because the current climate was about “survival of the collaborators,” Patel said.

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