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Lloydspharmacy item numbers dropped 20% over 18 months, data reveals

Lloydspharmacy saw a “significant” decrease in its prescription item numbers over a recent 18-month period, while Boots and Well Pharmacy maintained item levels, PharmData has revealed.

The UK pharmacy data platform analysed the latest NHS figures on item numbers for the “top three” multiples in England and Wales – Boots, Lloydspharmacy and Well.

It found that Lloydspharmacy prescription item numbers significantly decreased compared to the other two major multiples over the 18 months from November 2020 to April 2022.

Read more: UPDATED: Lloydspharmacy ‘selectively selling’ branches to independent buyers


In November 2020, Lloydspharmacy’s item numbers stood at 8.5 million, falling to 8m in April 2021 and dropping another 1.2 million to 6.8 million in April last year, according to the analysis.


This represents a decrease of 20% over the 18 months and of 15% year-on-year. 


Read more: Kamsons Pharmacy reveals acquisition of five Lloydspharmacy branches


Meanwhile, Boots’ prescription item numbers remained steady around the 13m mark, according to the community pharmacy figures compiled from NHS databases by PharmData.


In November 2020, it dispensed 13.4m items compared with 13.6m in April 2021 and 13.5m the following year, PharmData found.


And Well dispensed 4.9m items in November 2020, rising slightly to 5m by April 2021 and falling again to 4.7m in April 2022, the analysis showed.



“Significant drop”



Sharing the data on Twitter last week (April 21), PharmData said that over the 18-month period “Boots and Well seemed to have maintained their item numbers, while Lloyds have seen a pretty significant drop”.


It questioned whether there could “be a correlation to the closures” recently announced by Lloydspharmacy. 


Read more: All Lloydspharmacy branches reportedly ‘at risk’ of closure


And it asked whether the multiple “[focussed] too heavily on the private sector perhaps”.


C+D asked Lloydspharmacy why item numbers had seen such a significant drop and whether this was related to closures or a focus on private services, but it did not respond to requests for comment.


Boots and Well also declined to comment.



Lloydspharmacy sales and closures



It comes as C+D yesterday (April 27) reported that Lloydspharmacy has confirmed it is “selectively selling” some of its branches.

It followed the news that Sussex-based chain Kamsons Pharmacy has acquired five Lloydspharmacy branches this month, also revealed by C+D yesterday.

Read more: Wes Streeting ‘really alarmed’ by Lloydspharmacy closure reports

Lloydspharmacy told C+D that the “majority” of the buyers of its branches are “independent pharmacy owners and local businesspeople”.


And it stressed that none of its stores are “at risk of closure except those within the Sainsbury’s estate”.


It remains unclear how many branches are being sold and how many located in Sainsbury’s stores are to be closed. 


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


It follows rumours and media reports that all of its branches are “at risk” of closure.


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


Meanwhile, the shadow health secretary has said that he is "really alarmed" by headlines suggesting that major community pharmacy chains such as Lloydspharmacy are considering "pulling out" their branches from the market. 


Read more: Lloydspharmacy to ‘withdraw’ pharmacy services from all Sainsbury’s branches


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


At the time, the multiple told C+D it was “exploring options for each individual branch”.

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