Pharmacy owners in England are currently facing a 17p-per-item price drop across all category M items for July. It comes on top of the ongoing category M clawback – which already represents an average drop of around 17-18p-per-item – and is due to end on July 31.
Hasmukh Vyas – who owns three pharmacies in Northampton and Leicester – told C+D last week (July 11) that while funding cuts and the category M clawback have already hit pharmacy owners “severely”, they will not feel the “full impact” of the 17p-per-item price drop until September.
Government data revealed in May that 156 pharmacies in England have closed since the funding cuts came into force. Mr Vyas predicted that “the situation will get worse before we hit the lowest point” and “more pharmacies will close” as a result.
Mr Vyas has reduced staff in order for his pharmacies to stay profitable, which has put additional pressure on his remaining employees, he told C+D.
“We are still operating at a level which provides a good and safe patient service,” he stressed.
“For the foreseeable future, we are making sensible cashflow forecasts to see us through the next phase of [funding cuts],” Mr Vyas said.
“A number” of contractors have expressed “serious concerns” about the future viability of their businesses, he added.
Irfan Motala – director of Vision Pharmacy in West Midlands – told C+D the “depressing” combination of the current clawback and the 17p-per-item price drop has impacted cashflow “big time”.
He has been forced to cut staff hours and reduce free medicines deliveries to counter the effects, he explained.
“It’s [been] getting tighter and tighter over the past two years,” Motala added. “This new 17p-per-item [drop is] just the cherry on the cake.”