UK ‘end of the sector’ possible

David Mowat

UK politicians don’t understand the value of community pharmacy, a senior executive believes – and so the pharmacy minister may oversee the sector’s end

In an interview with C+D, Cormac Tobin said that the pharmacy minister, David Mowat – who was appointed to the position last July following the sudden resignation of predecessor Alistair Burt – had to “own up to his responsibility”.

“He must pay attention… to evolve and develop the industry, or he will stand over its demise,” Mr Tobin, managing director of Celesio, parent company of Lloydspharmacy, told Chemist+Druggist’s Thomas Cox.

Mr Tobin said many British politicians don’t understand the value of the face-to-face aspect of community pharmacy.

“We work with millions of people every week in this company and the interactions and stories are phenomenal. The amount of letters I get about how we save lives is phenomenal,” Mr Tobin said.

“I’m not quite sure some of our political representatives realise that. Some do, without a shadow of a doubt, but a lot don’t.”

Mr Mowat is pushing for pharmacists to enter GP surgeries, with 1500 expected to move into the setting by 2021, but Mr Tobin says this does not really speak to the pharmacy industry, querying how this would be an improvement over pharmacists staying in their own businesses.

Meanwhile, the “hub and spoke” dispensing model also came under fire at the Sigma Pharmaceuticals conference in Rio de Janeiro, where National Pharmacy Association chair Ian Strachan said his organisation would continue to fight the model.

“The hub and spoke agenda hasn’t gone away. That agenda to drive 66 per cent of the volume through hub and spoke, is still there, it’s still very much alive,” he said. “Just because they say ‘that’s the way it’s going to be,’ I’m not going to accept that.”

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