As many as 94 pharmacies have closed in England in the last 12 months, according to IQVIA.
The data analytics firm’s vice president of global services, Carol Alexandre, said the decrease was visible in managed chains, while the number of independent pharmacies – both distance selling and bricks and mortar – increased by 16. Among the 77 managed chain pharmacies closed, most of them belonged to LloydsPharmacy group.
Addressing about 250 delegates at the 12th Annual Sigma Community Pharmacy Conference in Cebu, Philippines, she said over a billion items were dispensed in England in the last 12 months, which was an increase of 0.7 per cent compared to last year.
While the growth rate for independents was 3.5 per cent, regional multiples which now had fewer stores also grew by 2.1 per cent. However, managed chains recorded a decrease in growth of 3.6 per cent in the same period.
“In terms of EPS, we see that national multiples have the best performance in terms of per cent of EPS vs non EPS – 76 per cent. But independents are not far behind at 74 per cent in terms of nomination,” Alexandre said.
“When we look at the nominations, the latest data shows that of the top 10 of pharmacy types in terms of nominations, five are distance selling pharmacies, as per the latest data was published at the beginning of February.”
On the subject of distance selling pharmacies, the IQVIA data found a slow growth in the last two years.
In total, of the 16 new independent pharmacies that opened last year, only two were distance selling.
However, among the existing distance selling pharmacies, Pharmacy2U alone still enjoyed a massive 56 per cent growth in items, while other independent distance sellers and remaining distance sellers recorded growths of 12.6 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.
The IQVIA data found that the item dispensing trend among bricks and mortar pharmacies remained low, while the distance selling pharmacies, including Pharmacy2U, had a growth rate of 12 per cent.
Despite the challenges, Alexandre said community pharmacy purchases in the UK gained in value, driven by diabetic and antithrombotic drugs.
Prescribing changes within consumer health category could present a great opportunity for pharmacists to increase their OTC sales, she said and produced a ‘look ahead list’ of 15 primary care-centric products, including Neupro, Resolor, Palexia, Duaklir Mezavant XL and Effentora, which are expected to be “genericised” within a year.
IQVIA forecasts the UK pharmaceutical market to grow at 4.5 per cent, but this will be driven largely by the hospital sector.