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Revenue for Lloyds' script ordering app up 300% on pre-COVID levels

McKesson CEO: The acquisition of Echo in 2019 was “timely”

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson has reported a 300% revenue rise for its prescription management app Echo, compared to before the outbreak of COVID-19.

While COVID-19 resulted in “lower foot traffic” to Lloydspharmacy’s branches in the UK, the acquisition of Echo in 2019 was “timely” because it helped the company “meet customer demands” during the pandemic, McKesson CEO Brian Tyler said during a conference call last week (August 3).

The call was held to discuss the company’s financial results for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.

McKesson executive vice president and chief financial officer Britt Vitalone, who was also on the call, said that “revenues from our Echo business grew over 300% from pre-pandemic levels and continue on a strong growth trajectory”.

“Severity” of COVID-19 impact

Mr Tyler added that the company’s “investment in our digital health care strategy in the UK has helped position the business to benefit from movement of patients to home and to omnichannel services”, following the acquisition of Echo in June last year.

The “restructuring actions” that the company last month announced within its UK business were a result of the “severity of the COVID-19 impact” and the need to “adapt to the difficult and evolving operating environment” the pandemic has created, Mr Vitalone said.

At the time of making the announcement, McKesson said the restructuring “regrettably means that some roles may be placed at risk of redundancy”, although it was not clear whether pharmacists and pharmacy technicians would be among those affected.  

The restructuring actions are being taken “to continue to better position the business for future profitability”, Mr Vitalone said last week.

Mr Tyler said the McKesson group is “encouraged” by the financial results it reported across its European business in the first quarter of 2020-21 – for which the company reported a 3% profit growth that was “partially offset” by the pandemic.

Last week (August 5) a McKesson UK spokesperson told C+D that the multiple is planning to close a “small number” of community pharmacies following pressure from factors including COVID-19.

What do you make of the company's announcement?

John Urwin, Community pharmacist

They've got them, now all they have to do is give the level of service to keep them!

J RP, Community pharmacist

Now we are seeing the reason for closure of certain Lloyds branches. In areas where they already have high uptake on echo, there is no need for their brick and mortar shops. Cut overheads and retain business.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Lloyds avoid answering the question, but there is clearly going to be redundancies in staffing levels in branches and closures with the removal of prescriptions to using centralised services because the workload simply won't be there for dispensers to do, at least not enough for the business to justify.

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

From 10 to 30 or 1000 to 3000??

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Up to 315,000 items according to the latest published NHSBA data.

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

oh wow thats massive! definitely worth them going online and via app then. No wonder they will consider closing more stores.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Until Amazon take them and all the other online pharmacies on and kick their arses into the middle of next week.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Oh, I am looking forward to the great Amazonisation of Pharmacy. I brought stocks in March when they were dirt cheap, and that is only going to grow into a massive profit!

But yeah, Amazon does logistics the best internationally. Pharmacy will not be any different.

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