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Judge dismisses Pharmacy2U demand for all NPA members' contact details

Pharmacy2U intended to contact 3,202 NPA members directly
Pharmacy2U intended to contact 3,202 NPA members directly

A High Court judge has today dismissed Pharmacy2U’s request for the contact details of every member of the NPA.

Handing down her judgment this morning (December 14) – which C+D attended – Master Julia Clark said Pharmacy2U had “fallen far short of showing” that the court should order the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) to hand over names, addresses and contact details of its members.

Pharmacy2U alleged that a NPA leaflet and poster (see below) distributed to members from November 2017 onwards had damaged the company’s reputation.

After the NPA refused to hand over these personal details, Pharmacy2U sought permission from the High Court to directly contact the 3,202 pharmacies who had been sent the materials.

Pharmacy2U intended to write to each member informing them that the materials "constitute trademark infringement", asking them not to publish the material further, and destroy all copies in their possession, the court explained.

Assessing the extent of the “damage”

While the online pharmacy business accepted that the statements used in the NPA materials were true, it claimed the leaflet’s “primary purpose is to disparage the services offered by Pharmacy2U by making reference to historic difficulties that the company experienced and using these to unfairly promote the services of the NPA’s members above those of Pharmacy2U”, according to the court documents.

“In short, the [leaflet] is nothing more than an attempt to rubbish the value of Pharmacy2U’s brand and divert business away from Pharmacy2U to NPA members,” the company said.

Pharmacy2U claimed it needed the names and contact details of thousands of pharmacies “to enable [it] to understand the extent of the damage that it had been exposed to” and “enable it to contact those individuals, with a view to trying to address the ongoing harm being caused to Pharmacy2U”.

In her judgment, Master Clark said the contact details of the NPA members are “not necessary for the purpose of Pharmacy2U understanding the extent of the damage to which it has been exposed”, and ruled the company’s request was not “necessary or desirable”.

Accusing pharmacies of wrongdoing

“Pharmacy2U is not seeking to write to [NPA] members simply to set the record straight,” Master Clark added.

In writing to each member, Pharmacy2U was planning to allege that pharmacies which had displayed the materials were “a wrongdoer, against whom a claim could be brought”, she said.

“To bring a claim against each [NPA member] for each (minor) act of infringement would, in my judgment, be disproportionate,” she added.

NPA members “were not responsible for the wording of the [marketing materials] and have no direct knowledge of its truth or falsity”, she stressed.

“There is a serious risk, therefore, that Pharmacy2U will be able to ‘pick off’ the individual members,” she added, rather than target the NPA as an organisation.

NPA: “Unreasonable” attempt to intimidate pharmacists

Commenting on the judgment, the NPA said: “The court has seen this for what it is, a completely unjustified and unreasonable attempt to obtain details of our members in order to intimidate them. 

“Online pharmacies have a place within the health sector and we have a significant number within our membership, but all pharmacies must behave appropriately irrespective of their business model,” it added.

C+D has contacted Pharmacy2U for comment.

See the NPA leaflet and poster in full.

11 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of the High Court judgment?

John NotaPharmacist, Pharmaceutical Adviser

It's all a bit Trumpian, "How dare you report the words I used to make me look bad..."

To use the vernacular - LOL

Kieran Eason, Superintendent Pharmacist

Perfect reminder to put that poster back on our social media accounts :-)

Aldosterone antagonist, Locum pharmacist

P2U are a joke.

Good job NPA for putting the spotlight on their tricks again.

Tohidul Islam, Locum pharmacist

Thru seem to do a pretty good job damaging their own reputation. It's great to see innovation in CP but not at the risk of patientcare.

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

WELL DONE NPA, EMAIL THE PAPERWORK TO ALL MEMBERS AGAIN SO THAT EVERYBODY CAN DISTRIBUTE IT REPEATEDLY, IN A SIMILAR FASHION TO PHARMACY2U SENDING OUT THEIR UNWANTED PAPERWORK REPEATEDLY

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

If they consider me a wrong-doer, I am happy to plead guilty! Shame no-one can take them to task over misleading letter drops which imply that the GP is promoting Pharmacy2U - ooops, there goes another copywrite infringement!!

Paul Summerfield, Community pharmacist

You just need to look at the Pharmacy Contractor Data which is freely available for all to see. Just type NHS Pharmacy Data NHS Digital and you will find it.

P2U submitted claims for 430,391 items of which 417,949 originated from EPS.

This is nearly 11 times the Px volume of the next contractor.

So, P2U talk about damage to their reputation. I think the figures speak from themselves.

Not to mention that P2U had FtP proceedings brought against pharmacists which resulted in sanctions being levied. Therefore, those pharmacists had impairment of their fitness to practise. If there is impairment of FtP, there is damage to the profession.

Draw your own inferences...

SIMON MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

suprised they can afford a court case with all the money they seem to be losing-

Aryan Butt,

Interestingly this year they have filed their accounts earlier than they did last year and they show excluding exceptional items in the reported year and the previous reported year their trading losses are doubled to about 10 million a year from the previous year.

It’s a pity those who are investing are not investing their own money but other peoples money!

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

They alleged this had damaged the company's reputation?????

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

They don't need help to do that

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