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Lloydspharmacy faces ‘aggressive’ marketing by mail order competitors

Lloydspharmacy has increased its efforts to retain patients in the face of “aggressive” marketing by mail order competitors, its financial documents have revealed.

“Aggressive targeting of patients by mail order pharmacies” meant the multiple had to “strive ever harder in order to retain patients and customers”, according to its financial statements for 2018-19, submitted to Companies House on Sunday (January 5).

The government’s cuts to pharmacy funding in England have also “served to increase competition” in the sector “to levels not seen before”, it said.

“Providing relevant services”

While the multiple saw “some loss of market share” as a result of selling or closing almost 200 branches over the past two years, “market share of the remaining pharmacies has been maintained through a focus on providing relevant and competitive services in our local and national markets”.

Elsewhere in the report, Lloydspharmacy admitted 2018-19 had been “another exceptionally challenging period” – reflected by an ongoing drop in profits.

How is Lloydspharmacy keeping itself competitive?

Expanding on the comments made in the financial reports, Lloydspharmacy told C+D: “People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier, which includes how they manage their health, and we are seeing more people using digital services in every aspect of their lives.

“These changes to consumer behaviour mean that we need to evolve to provide more choice and convenience for our patients.

“Community pharmacy plays an important role in the management of health and prevention of long-term conditions, so we are continuing to invest in automation that will free up our pharmacists and their teams to spend more time with patients, discussing their health needs.

“We have also been developing our digital capabilities, creating a quick, easy and safe online repeat prescription delivery service. On June 19, 2019 we acquired Echo, to further strengthen our digital prescription delivery business.”

Last year, the former CEO of Well Pharmacy exclusively told C+D that the multiple was prompted by online business Pharmacy2U’s “rapid growth” to “accelerate” its own digital plans.

Read Lloydspharmacy’s plans for the future in C+D’s in-depth interview with CEO Toby Anderson last year.

Do you perceive mail order pharmacies as a threat to your business?

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