Pharmacy dead in the water unless it changes

Time has finally been called on pharmacy, Numark managing director John D’Arcy has claimed at his company’s international conference, held this week in Cape Town. “Unless pharmacy comes up with a patient-centred, quality-focused, value proposition, as opposed to simply supply, we’re going to be dead in the water.”

Pharmacy has been through tough times before and pharmacists are always adaptable, but it feels different this time, he said. The NHS is bust, it can’t balance the books and pharmacy is feeling the effects. “I’ve never known a time when a Government has gone back on an agreement on funding and ripped money out of that.”

Questions are also being asked about pharmacists’ willingness and ability to step up to the plate, he said. For instance, uptake of MURs is still only 54 per cent. Yet this is what the Government wants. “It is no good stepping aside and saying we don’t like it. Medicines optimisation is exactly where we should be. Pharmacy is seen as a problem, rather than a solution.”

No one is saying that we don’t need pharmacists, he said. They are just saying we need a different model.

Bemoaning the demise of Pharmacy Voice, Mr D’Arcy said the sector struggles from a lack of leadership. “We present a very divided front.” The Government loves a fragmented voice because it gives it an excuse to do nothing. While Numark is not a representative body for pharmacy, it will be speaking up more for the sector and disadvantaged independents in particular, he claimed.

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