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Boots still hit by cuts and drop in prescriptions as sales fall by 3%

Walgreens Boots Alliance: Boots in the UK has faced a challenging year
Walgreens Boots Alliance: Boots in the UK has faced a challenging year

Boots UK’s parent company has blamed fewer prescriptions and the funding cuts in England for a 3.4% decrease in sales in pharmacies.

The multiple’s parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, saw a 3.4% drop in comparable pharmacy sales in its retail pharmacy international division – which includes Boots UK – from June to August 2018, compared with the same period last year.

The drop was “primarily due to lower prescription volume and a decline in UK pharmacy funding”, the company said in its latest financial report, published today (October 11).

Pharmacy sales during the company's financial year (August 2017-18) fell 1.2%, it told journalists during a conference call this afternoon.

Walgreens Boots Alliance said its retail sales had also fallen – by 0.9% compared with the same quarter last year – in its international division. This was “mainly due to Boots UK, where the beauty category declined in a challenging market, partially offset by higher sales in the health and wellness category”.

The drop was even steeper – at 1.4% – within Boots UK, the company said.

“Challenging year” for UK pharmacy

The company acknowledged “Boots in the UK has faced a challenging year”, and said it is “taking actions to address [its] UK retail performance”. This will include “investing [in] new store and digital content”, and the appointment of “seasoned specialist retailer” Sebastian James as Boots' senior vice president and managing director.

In June, Boots announced a 2% fall in retail sales from March to May 2018 – when compared with the same period the previous year – which the multiple said at the time was also due to “lower prescription volume” and the reduction in “government funding”.

Wholesale sales rise

Meanwhile, the company’s wholesale division – which includes Alliance Healthcare in the UK – saw sales increase by 4.7% compared with the fourth quarter of the last financial year.

Overall sales for the quarter across Walgreens Boots Alliance increased 11.3%, to $33.4 billion (£25.2bn) compared with the same period last year.

How is your pharmacy coping with the funding cuts?

A England, Manager

I think the day Boots and Lloyds collapse, there will be liberation for Pharmacists and the patient that will echo in eternity. It will happen because there is a new kind of evolution seeping in- the realisation that for 95% of the ill health, we don't need purveyors of poisons.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

This will get even worse I have friends that work at GP surgeries and CCGs who are actively switching patient to 84 day cycles, they have not forgotten how they have been mistreated in the past by these big organisations, by this I refer to low pay & lack of respect!!

More chickens will be coming home to roost……

Obviously this is being done when clinically safe, less face it most Rx can be 84 day cycles……..

Seal Patel, Community pharmacist

Cut the locum rates down, some locums still getting £22+. Standard boots plan

A England, Manager

Dear oh dear Mr Patel, is that all you can muster. This is why I am so embarrassed to be a pharmacist.

Alan WHITEMANN, Communications

Brilliant summing up by all the respondents.I would just add one more thing " every dog has its day" well all I can say is that these dogs are having theirs lol .

Tony Schofield, Community pharmacist

Wholesaling up? Funny that. No details about U.K. profits though and therefore U.K. tax paid.......

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

Think we can guarantee there won't be much of that being paid.


Nalin Shah, Community pharmacist

corporate greed

John Smith, Locum pharmacist

This is becoming a very predictable, yearly headline for Boots. Listen up Boots, I'll do a free root cause analysis, right here, right now, for free. The sales at the company are decreasing because there is nobody on the tills to take the money. The decrease in prescriptions is happening because there is nobody to take them in. No money in the till means less profits. No pharmacy staff means less prescriptions. Increase both and profit/prescriptions will increase. Cause and effect. And as a pleasant side effect, there will be probably be no more documentaries detailing fatal dispensing errors at your branches.

You're welcome.

Hadi Al-Bayati, Locum pharmacist

Also, more people are boycotting as they are aware of the company that this has become

RS Pharmacist, Primary care pharmacist

Have you been to a Boots Pharmacy recently? Well the customer service is very poor. Which is not the staff to blame but more that lack of staff available.

Have you ever tried calling a Boots Pharmacy? Well I am not surprised, as they never answer the phone. Again, as per point above.

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