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Avicenna buys 34 Sheppards pharmacies, taking group to 135 branches

The Sheppards pharmacies are mainly located in south Wales (© 2021 Google, image capture: November 2020)
The Sheppards pharmacies are mainly located in south Wales (© 2021 Google, image capture: November 2020)

Avicenna has bought 34 Sheppards Pharmacy branches for an undisclosed sum, retaining all 259 staff, the group has announced.

The acquisition of the Sheppards Pharmacy group – which follows the addition of 57 Dudley Taylor pharmacies to Avicenna’s retail network last month – brings the pharmacy support group to a total of 135 branches, Avicenna CEO Jonathan Power announced today (April 20).

The Sheppards Pharmacy group’s branches are mainly located in south Wales, Mr Power said.

The pharmacy locations “perfectly complement our existing branches in Gwent and Powys”, in south-east and central Wales respectively, he added.

“I look forward to working with our new colleagues and further investing in the stores, taking forward the vision and legacy that Alan and Jean Sheppard have built since founding [the company] in 1972, when their first pharmacy was opened in Aberdare,” Mr Power said.

The purchase of the Sheppards Pharmacy branches will allow Avicenna to “accelerate investments in technology, pharmacy support and our people, not only for the benefit of our colleagues and customers but [also] those of our 1,200 independent partners”, Mr Power explained.

An Avicenna spokesperson told C+D today that the company has “an acquisition pipeline in place and continues to look at opportunities”.

C+D has contacted the Sheppards Pharmacy group for comment.

Last year, Avicenna relaunched Avibuyer, a comparison tool for medicines prices; released an app called Manage My Meds, which enables patients to order repeat prescriptions from independent pharmacies; and launched its first automated hub, assembling community dosage system trays in Sunderland.

Have you bought or sold a pharmacy in the past year?

Taranpreet Mundae, Locum pharmacist

I guess some brick & mortar pharmacies still make financial sense. 

R A, Community pharmacist

Not really retail pharmacy is a dud of a business. The only winners are the family who have exited the business. 

TC PA, Community pharmacist

That is true to some extent but medium size chains still have the potential to perform well. They are big enough to be able to have some economies of scale and preferential wholesaler arrangements. However, they are not so big that they are bloated with middle management and head office non-jobs. I work for such a company and they do well.

The owners of Avicenna are shrewd and I doubt they would have bought these pharmacies without a plan.

Having said that, you are correct about sole traders and very small chains. I can't see how they run at a profit without the owner(s) working ridiculous hours and never having time off.

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