An independent pharmacy in Yorkshire has become the first to join Lloydspharmacy parent company Celesio UK's virtual network.
Marsden Pharmacy in Harrogate reopened last week (July 9) as a member of Celesio's Careway partnership. The pharmacy will retain its independence while offering free, enhanced services including smoking cessation, skin health and pain management supported by Celesio.
The Careway concept covers two of the three levels through which independent pharmacies can join Celesio's European Pharmacy Network, in a scheme first announced last year. The final level of the franchise will allow pharmacies to become fully rebranded as a Lloydspharmacy, Celesio said this week (July 15).
The other pharmacies in the Marsden Pharmacy group are set to join the partnership throughout the summer and Celesio said it hoped to extend the offer to independent pharmacy contractors across the UK by the end of the year.
The concept was available in different packages to suit the needs of contractors and allow them to access Celesio's customer services, category management expertise, business support and wholesale services, it said. Pharmacies also had the option to adopt Careway branding throughout their store, Celesio said.
Celesio UK marketing and sales director Nigel Swift said the launch of the Careway partnership was part of a plan to provide "end-to-end solutions to pharmacies by utilising our entire network of services".
"We have such a vast bank of expertise at our support centre and the Careway offering allows independent pharmacy managers to tap deeper into our research, services, training and connectivity, while retaining full independence and management of their pharmacy," he said.
Marsden Pharmacy had plans to offer anti-malaria and type 2 diabetes services as part of the partnership, and owner Bhavin Morjaria said he was "delighted to be a pioneer in a partnership programme that will support the health needs of customers".
Celesio chief financial officer Marion Helmes said the company's progress following its takeoverby US wholesaler McKesson this year relied on developing its European Pharmacy Network and optimising its supply chain, at its annual general meeting on Tuesday (July 15).
In April, C+D reported that Celesio planned to use its virtual network of independent pharmacies to bid for services from local commissioners.