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All Lloydspharmacy branches reportedly ‘at risk’ of closure

All of Lloydspharmacy’s UK branches are allegedly “at risk of closure” as part of a strategic review of the business, according to reports in The Sun.

Unnamed “sources” revealed to the news outlet that Lloydspharmacy’s private equity owner had launched a “strategic review of its entire UK store base…[that] could lead to a sale of all of its pharmacies or closure”, it was reported yesterday (March 2).

According to The Sun, this leaves the future of 1,300 branches "at risk" in a move it called a "major blow for the high street".

However, Lloydspharmacy has not confirmed whether the reports are true.

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

The news follows Aurelius’ 2021 acquisition of Lloydspharmacy’s then-parent company McKesson as part of a £477m deal.

And C+D exclusively revealed in January that Lloydspharmacy will withdraw its pharmacy services from all 237 Sainsbury’s stores over the course of this year.

It is as yet unclear whether each of these branches will close or be sold.


“Unverified information”


In a statement to C+D, a Lloydspharmacy spokesperson said the multiple “does not comment on articles that have been published based on unverified information”.

Lloydspharmacy “regularly reviews its pharmacy estate to ensure it is operating sustainably” and “always aims to sell stores rather than close them to ensure that any impact on patients and colleagues is minimised”, the spokesperson said.

Read more: DH 'assessing potential impact' of Lloydspharmacy Sainsbury's exit

They continued: “The decision to close a pharmacy is very much a last resort and is only taken after all alternative options have been thoroughly explored.

“Any decision is always taken in the interests of patients, colleagues and the business. At all times, patient safety remains our top priority ensuring that our customers and patients are always able to access vital prescriptions, health advice, products and services.”


Government must “wake up”


Responding to the reports, Rowlands managing director and Phoenix UK deputy managing director Nigel Swift stressed the need for the government to “wake up” to the effects its “economically illiterate” decision to freeze pharmacy funding is having.

Read more: ‘No assessment' of funding impact on pharmacy closures, says DH

“Surely now, ministers and NHS England (NHSE) officials will wake up to the reality that after years of real term funding cuts the community pharmacy sector in England has reached crisis point,” he said.

He continued: “In England, ministers are saying they want pharmacy to do more with no new funding at a time when prescription volumes are growing. This is economically illiterate.”


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