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Independents grew market share in 2017, despite dispensing volume drop

Carole Alexandre: Market share of "managed pharmacy chains" decreased over same period
Carole Alexandre: Market share of "managed pharmacy chains" decreased over same period

Independent pharmacies in England increased their market share in 2017 despite falling dispensing volume and closing GP practices, data analysts have concluded.

Iqvia – formally IMS Health – used data from wholesalers and the NHS Business Services Authority to plot how independents performed in the 12 months up to October 2017, in terms of market value, drug tariff price and dispensing volume.

Speaking to C+D after her session at Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ annual conference in Borneo yesterday (February 12), Iqvia director of information offerings Carole Alexandre said that despite the funding cuts across England, independent pharmacies’ share of the market “was not impacted” last year.

“We’ve seen the market, the number of items dispensed, [and] the number of prescribers [all] shrink,” Ms Alexandre said during her presentation.

“Despite that, independents are actually improving [their] performance,” she told delegates, pointing to a 3.5% growth in market share.

Independents have “increased [their] share across every region” of England, she added.

Reduction in GP numbers

The closure of GP practices, and decreasing “prescriber churn”, contributed to a 1.2% drop in the number of items dispensed by independents over the 12-month period, compared with a sector-wide drop of 1.1%, Ms Alexandre said.

The average independent pharmacy in England received prescriptions from 47 GP practices in that time, a 1.3% drop compared with the previous year, Iqvia’s analysis showed.

“What we have seen in the last 12 months is a net reduction of 112 GP practices [across England]”, Ms Alexandre explained. The number of GPs fell by “approximately” 1,200 over the same period, she added.

However, the “good news story” is that independent pharmacies’ increased market share “in that declining market”, showing that “you are managing to adapt to the change in this environment”, she told delegates.

“We have seen managed [pharmacy] chains decreasing their market share, the rest is pretty stable,” she summarised.

Ms Alexandre also highlighted that 4% of all prescriptions dispensed in England between November 2016 and October 2017 originated in Wales.

6 Comments
Question: 
Did you see your dispensing volume fall last year?

Tony Schofield, Community pharmacist

How can anyone argue for an increase in locum rates when prescription volume has fallen and fees per prescription have been slashed? Independent contractors have increased their share of a declining market but how anyone can believe that minimises the damage done by the cuts is bewildering 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

But rates were falling years ago well before any sniff of cuts. All irrelevant anyway as community is a joke

P M, Community pharmacist

lol indeed ..

Hector Bellerin, Pharmacy Buyer

Proof that independents are thriving ..... not the scare stories you have been reading . It’s the locums that are suffering ...every single independent I’ve spoken to have increased their rxs since last year including myself. My Locum costs have also gone down to £16 hr LOL

Wolverine 001 , Pharmacist Director

But you are getting paid less per item as AIV is dropping...dispensing cheap drugs.. look at the pharmacies for sale there AIV sits at £6.50 I.e. garbage and they want £1m .... item increase is due to mds trays and weekly scripts which dilute the payment...increase In market share yea right.

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

No gloom & doom for Contractors , only for locum pharmacists.!!!, 

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