Pharmacy2U founder Daniel Lee has announced plans for an £8m dispensing facility he claims will “level the playing field” between independents and multiples.
Mr Lee, who left the online pharmacy in 2019 and is now CEO of HubRx, says the Yorkshire facility, which aims to have the capacity to dispense a million items each month once it is built, will allow independents to benefit from hub and spoke technology and devote more time to NHS and private services.
This will help independents to carry on with the “expanded role in the community” they have played during the Covid-19 pandemic, HubRx claims.
The announcement comes as the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill, which will allow different businesses to partner with the same dispensing hub, passes through the House of Lords before receiving Royal Assent.
The HubRx facility in Yorkshire will rely on the RxWeb PMR system, currently used by over 1,800 UK pharmacies, to transfer prescriptions to the central hub and facilitate delivery back to the pharmacy.
Independent pharmacists who sign up will carry out clinical checks and will “remain in control of the patient relationship throughout the dispensing process,” says the company.
Daniel Lee commented: “For the first time ever, due to new legislation currently going through parliament, the UK’s 4,461 independents will be able to realise the time-saving benefits of automated dispensing and create a level playing field with the big multiple pharmacies already benefiting from this.
“In a post-Covid world, pharmacists will expect the significant clinical and advisory role they have played during this crisis to continue – and so will their patients.”
Mr Lee said the hub would give pharmacies the option to outsource “up to 70 per cent of their dispensing workload” and would “support the transformation of independents as they adapt to the new Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework”.
Dorset contractor Mike Hewitson, who is joining HubRx as a non-executive director, said a hub and spoke service “would have helped independent community pharmacy tremendously during this pandemic, and it will be badly needed long after the outbreak is over”.