Nitin Sodha is the new chair of the National Pharmacy Association, replacing Ian Strachan.

Mr Sodha is managing director of the Knights Pharmacy group and director of independent wholesaler Lexon. He was first elected to the board in 2007 and has been vice-chair since 2014.

He commented: “It is an honour to be chosen to chair an organisation so central to the history and the future of independent community pharmacy. After four years as vice-chair, I look forward to continuing to work hard, with my board colleagues and the NPA staff, in the interests of independent pharmacies and the patients they serve.”

Ian Strachan said: “I am handing the baton over to an experienced colleague, who is passionate about community pharmacy, as are we all on this board. These are challenging times for the sector, but the new chair, myself and the entire board are ready to play our part in helping independents take the journey of change that is necessary.”

Andrew Lane has been elected as vice-chair, while Michael Guerin continues as treasurer.

However, the first meeting of the new board also saw the resignation of Mike Hewitson, who represents the south region. In a statement on Twitter, he said the NPA had “surrendered moral leadership on the critical issues of price gouging by wholesalers, stock shortages and the precipitous decline of service levels by vertically integrated wholesalers”.

Head of communications, Stephen Fishwick, said: “We are very sorry indeed that Mike Hewitson has felt it necessary to leave the NPA board after eight years of exemplary service. His contribution over that time was immensely valuable to the NPA and to the independent pharmacy sector we all feel so passionately about.”

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