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NPA: Appointing a wholesaler as chair won’t change our mission

Nitin Sodha
NPA: Nitin Sodha will continue to give his time and energy to support the independent sector

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has pledged that its “focus will not change” after a board member resigned in protest at the appointment of a wholesaler as chair.

Dorset contractor Mike Hewitson resigned last week following the appointment of Nitin Sodha, who is director of independent wholesaler Lexon UK as well as managing director of the Knights Pharmacy chain.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Hewitson said: “At a time when NPA members face an existential battle for survival, made more difficult by the behaviours of wholesalers, large and small, this represents an insoluble conflict of interest.”

Mr Hewitson was keen to stress to C+D that “the issue of wholesaler conflict is nothing personal against [Mr Sodha]; I don’t bear him any malice.”

NPA responds

Responding to Mr Hewitson’s concerns, the NPA told C+D last Friday (April 27) that “while the style of leadership may change [at the organisation], our focus will not”.

“The NPA’s mission was, is, and will remain to help independents to prosper, professionally and commercially, for the ultimate benefit of the patients and communities they serve,” the NPA said.

“Nitin has been vice chair of the NPA during a tumultuous period in which the association has stood up strong for members,” it pointed out.

“As chair, he will continue to give his time and energy to support the independent sector,” it added.

“Of course we would have liked [Mr Hewitson] to stay and we wish him well.”

What should the NPA focus on in 2018?

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

A massive conflict of interest. Why is this even allowed?

Disillusioned Sussex chic, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

this is like the advert "Daddy or chips" featuring a little girl who can't make her mind up then chooses chips. Let's hope it can be proved that patients will come first before  profits.

Brian AUSTEN, Administration & Support

There will still be many that see a conflict of interest! You might have the same aim but this perceived conflict might make it unachievable.

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