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DH 'assessing potential impact' of Lloydspharmacy Sainsbury's exit

The government is assessing the “potential impact” of Lloydspharmacy’s recent announcement that it plans to withdraw from all Sainsbury’s stores, it has revealed.

Pharmacy minister Neil O’Brien made the comments this week (February 14) in response to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion.

Last month, C+D exclusively revealed that Lloydspharmacy intends to withdraw pharmacy services from all 237 Sainsbury’s stores “over the course of 2023”, although it remains unclear whether the in-store branches will close or be sold.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy quits Sainsbury’s: What we do (and don't) know so far

In a written question tabled earlier this month (February 6), Ms Champion asked whether the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) “has made an assessment of the impact” of the announcement on “former patients” and “nearby pharmacies”.

In his written answer, Mr O’Brien confirmed that the DH has “been working closely with NHS England [NHSE] and Lloydspharmacy to assess the potential impact of the recent [Lloydspharmacy] announcement”.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy confirms closure of Dorset Sainsbury’s branch next month

“The Department and NHSE continue to monitor patient access to pharmaceutical services closely,” he added.

And he said that the “capacity and potential for efficiencies within the community pharmacy sector are considered jointly” by the DH, NHSE and negotiators during contract negotiations.

C+D has contacted the DH, NHSE and Lloydspharmacy for comment.

Read more: Well 'confident' it can 'fill gap' left by Lloydspharmacy Sainsbury closures

It comes as Well told C+D this week (February 13) that the multiple is gearing up its stores and staff to take on customers displaced by Lloydspharmacy’s withdrawal from Sainsbury's in the coming months.

Well chief executive Seb Hobbs said that the multiple is “confident” it can “fill the gap” left by any closures.

Read more: Legal view: What now for Lloydspharmacy services in Sainsbury's?

This follows Well’s owner acquiring a total of 80,792,512 shares in Sainsbury’s at the end of January – although it declined to comment when asked if it had any plans to fill the spaces vacated by Lloydspharmacy in Sainsburys stores.

Lloydspharmacy’s announcement that it would withdraw from Sainsbury’s branches over the course of 2023 came after months of branch sale rumours, with the multiple making the decision after conducting “a strategic review of its operations in response to changing market conditions”, it told C+D. 

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