The multiple is also “planning a pilot for charging all customers” for deliveries, it added.
Catherine McDermott, operations director at Lloydspharmacy's parent company Celesio UK, told C+D that the announcement is the multiple’s attempt to “take the lead” on the sector’s attitude towards medicines deliveries.
“Independent pharmacies may choose to follow our lead, some may not, but I believe that a multiple pharmacy making the first move allows smaller operators to make a choice.”
“One-to-one contact with a healthcare professional allows us to reinforce lifestyle messages, educate patients about their medicine and can contribute to adherence,” she added. “Bringing customers back into pharmacy allows us to perform those interventions more frequently.”
She also stressed that Lloydspharmacy patients “will still have access to a number of other options”.
“Our online service provides free delivery of prescriptions, and we also offer ‘click and collect’.”
The announcement comes less than three weeks after Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin announced his surprise resignation, and less than a month after the multiple revealed it would cease trading in 190 locations.
Read Ms McDermott's comment piece for C+D here for a full explanation of why Lloydspharmacy has made this decision, and how she predicts it could affect the sector.
The Twitter reaction
Wholly agree with the concept. Or better still, deliveries should be commissioned service. But, worrying many companies continue to offer for free, particularly internet pharmacies.— Amish Patel (@amishpatel1985) November 20, 2017
I totally agree with concept. Unless the patient has a known disability, delivery should be charged. Its a cost which needs to be controlled to ensure people do not abuse services.— Aisha (@aisha_adnan) November 20, 2017
An end to free deliveries of medicines by UK's second biggest pharmacy chain. This will have a major impact on the elderly and frail. https://t.co/kO8xXltWMS— Anna Sayburn (@AnnaSayburn) November 20, 2017
The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served. This ... operates more completely where medical care is most exposed to market forces, and less so where such exposure is reduced https://t.co/9RqMN8PEjJ— Joe Bush (@josephbush) November 20, 2017