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PDA reassures Lloyds staff following ‘rumours’ chain will be sold

The PDA has said it will protect the employment of Lloyds’ pharmacists should rumours that the multiple’s branches are up for sale be true.

Sky News reported today (February 16) that Lloydspharmacy and AAH’s parent company McKesson is “in talks” to sell its UK pharmacy branches and wholesaler business, due to concerns about the industry’s financial viability.

A McKesson UK spokesperson told C+D today that the multiple does not comment on “rumours”.

However, while the multiple refused to comment, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union issued a statement to “reassure” members who were concerned by the national media reports.

Should the media reports be “accurate”, the PDAU said it will do “all it can” to protect Lloydspharmacists.

The union added that it expects the company to “be open and transparent with its employees and to communicate with them as soon as they are able to do so, and to keep their recognised [PDA] union representatives informed”.

Pharmacists worried

PDA director Paul Day said that the association is already “hearing from some pharmacists who are worried by what they are seeing in the media” and will keep members abreast of any developments.

However, any negotiations Lloydspharmacy is involved with will likely be subject to confidentiality, he pointed out.

Earlier this month (February 8), Lloydspharmacy and the PDA signed a voluntary recognition agreement to let the union negotiate pay and “certain terms and conditions” for the chain’s pharmacists.

Mr Day added: “Pharmacists will have a number of concerns if the reported strategy were to be implemented, such as:  Who is buying the business? Will it be kept together? What will be the consequences for my branch, my working hours and my employment? Whatever the answers to these questions, PDA members can be assured that we will be alongside them to ensure their voice is heard and to support them.”

In November last year, Lloydspharmacy announced it had closed 99 branches in the previous 12 months and warned of more closures unless landlords would agree to a 25% rent reduction.

Presenting its fiscal 2020-21 outlook in May, McKesson predicted a 20-25% drop in adjusted operating profit across its European pharmaceutical solutions division, which it partly blamed on the “severe social restrictions” in the UK over COVID-19.

McKesson bought Lloydspharmacy’s former parent company Celesio in 2014.

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