Is your pharmacy at risk of closure?

As many as 315 community pharmacies in England may be at high risk of closure, according to analysis by healthcare intelligence company QuintilesIMS, with many of the most vulnerable practices found in London.

A particularly high number of pharmacies with low gross profit and a high dependence on the establishment payment are clustered in the London region, confirmed Carol Alexandre, director of information offerings, speaking at the Sigma conference.

High risk of closure: IMS

Analysis on the impact of the pharmacy cuts – described by Ms Alexandra as “a robust analysis” – took publicly available data from the NHS, PSNC income data and OTC sales data into account to give an estimate of pharmacy profits.

“We looked at those with a high dependency on the establishment payment [pharmacies for which 20 per cent of their profit comes from the establishment fee] and at clustering: how close pharmacies are to one another. It doesn’t take into account everything, for example labour costs, rent and rates etc, but we do believe it is a robust analysis.”

Further analysis of the 315 pharmacies at risk of closure showed the impact of clustering, she said, a particular issue for cities such as London. “When you look at those in 10 minutes walk from one another, there are about 200 at risk.”

The model found that the number of pharmacies at ‘moderate’ risk, showing slightly better profits, was even higher. “When we looked at moderate risk – pharmacies with 15 per cent of gross profit coming from the establishment fee – there are 2,400 pharmacies at medium risk, and of that, 1,500 are within 10 minutes walk of each other,” warned Ms Alexandre.   

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