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Pharmacy2U sees EPS boost after data-selling scandal

Pharmacy2U says it provides a convenient choice that many people are taking

Patient nominations for the online business have risen 8% since its fine for selling patient data, having previously been in decline, according to NHS data

EXCLUSIVE

  • More than 2,700 new patients have nominated Pharmacy2U through EPS since its £130,000 fine for selling patient data

  • Its nominations dropped by 0.7% in the three weeks prior to the fine: the steepest fall of any of the 20 most nominated companies

  • Day Lewis's Jay Patel suggested the rise in nominations is due to lack of patient awareness about the fine

More patients have opted to use Pharmacy2U to dispense their prescriptions since the company was fined for selling patient data, a C+D investigation has revealed.

More than 2,700 additional patients have nominated the online pharmacy business through the electronic prescription service (EPS) since its £130,000 fine last month for breaching the Data Protection Act, according to NHS data.

EPS nominations for the business were in slow decline in the three weeks prior to the government watchdog's fine, but this trend reversed after the fine was announced on October 20, according to weekly EPS data released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

In the three weeks before the fine, Pharmacy2U saw its EPS nominations drop 222 to 33,636. Only five of the top 20 most nominated companies also saw a drop during this period, and Pharmacy2U's 0.7% fall was the steepest of these, according to the data.

Between October 23 and November 20 – the four weeks following the fine – Pharmacy2U's nominations surged by 2,710 nominations, an increase of 8 per cent. This was the fastest growth of any of the top 20 companies over this period, according to C+D's analysis of the data.

Pharmacy2U remains the second most nominated business, with 36,493 nominations on November 20. Care home delivery company Charter Healthcare is the most nominated, with 42,431, according to HSCIC's data.

Day Lewis chief innovation officer Jay Patel suggested the increase in nominations could be explained by lack of patient awareness of Pharmacy2U's fine.

"You might have surgeries where there is a collaborative approach between the GP surgery and Pharmacy2U, so patients are signing up to the GP's online service, as opposed to Pharmacy2U [specifically]," he told C+D.

Pharmacy2U managing director Daniel Lee said the company could not give a “detailed comment” on the figures. The company provides “a convenient option for many patients and a choice that more people are making”.

Since the fine, the company has done "all we can to ensure customers’ data is protected to industry best practice standards", he added.

 



Why do you think patients are still nominating Pharmacy2U?

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18 Comments

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

is anything goes wrong i bet you the first port of call would be their community pharmacy...at which point they will findout that it has been your local delivering those prescriptions its in fact an online pharmacy....realising this they will promptly ask for the re regular pharmacy to re-nominate them...

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

patients are signing up thinking. its there local gp asking them to signup for a service which will allow rx to be sent from their local pharmacy p2u is taking advantage of patients confusion to get the nominations...sonn enough however they quickly realise that its not their local pharmacy thats in charge of their medicies its some online pharmacy... THATS WHAT HAPPENING

Aisha Adnan, Community pharmacist

Fantastic ! That's called buisness •_•

James Tibbs, Superintendent Pharmacist

Ignorance must be bliss

Peter Badham, Superintendent Pharmacist

They had been holding back on their marketing , until they received the judgement If the fine had fitted the crime , they should have been forced to close When is the GPC going to take action ?

Mi Wa, Community pharmacist

I have also had to undo some of the nominations made accidentally for Pharmacy2U. It was very annoying, but having read their flyer, it is guilty of being cleverly written, but not illegal. Patients are notorious for not reading things or assuming what a letter says rather than analysing the content. i am aware that the selling of data was deliberate. I have been on the receiving end of prescription direction, where doctors have actively changed a patients nominated pharmacy without the patient knowing. Now this is deliberate and for financial gain, but nothing gets done about it even with a supposed audit trail. What I'm trying to say is that your transgressions don't always result in the punishment they deserve.

max falconer, Superintendent Pharmacist

Who would actually choose to use a pharmacy possibly 100s of miles from their address? That's a serious question. I would welcome suggestions. What possible advantage is there for individual patients when virtually all local pharmacies offer delivery and often on the same day, something P2U can't?

Pillman Uk, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Perhaps indifference at the local pharmacy, poor service, or the patient just can't tell the difference (which is a damning statement on the local pharmacy) Those pharmacies and pharmacy teams that provide excellent customer care and service will win back those that have migrated through ignorance/misunderstanding.

Bhupendra Patel, Superintendent Pharmacist

They confuse patients, especially elderly ones, with their personalised letters in order to achieve EPS nominations. This then has to be sorted out by the locally based pharmacies for those patients who don't want to be associated with this sharp business practice. Other patients stay with them because of the confusion on how to denominate themselves from this company. Plus there is always the local pharmacy for the low volumes of acute scripts for the patients nominated to this company. This also applies to scripts which cannot be issued via the EPS portal. The company will soon approach the local pharmacies as collection points! Watch this space!

Gurjepal Pannu, Community pharmacist

Where is the Gphc hiding?

Mohamed Bachelani, Community pharmacist

It seems obvious that they held back nominations until after judgment, so that it would appear that their business was in decline, so as to mitigate any fine that they might have been given.

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist

We bought a VW van a few weeks ago...

Nitin Makadia, Pharmacist Director

Immediately after the story broke I received a mail drop...not personalised to me but it did list all the local surgeries...via Royal Mail inviting me to register with the P2U service - I assume they already had a big marketing push in the pipeline. The sign up includes the statement "We will not sell your information to anyone, for any reason".

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Just proves there's no such thing as bad press. With toothless regulators this company will continue to reap the rewards despite offending in a manner that would see and has recently seen other smaller independent pharmacists struck off the register. It shows how cosy it really is at the top.

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

I have to agree . Bad publicity is almost never negative and raises awareness that a service is available. I remember a clinic in the late 80s who were called carpetbaggers for charging over £1000 for Minoxidil lotion. They had queues around New Cavendish street and well beyond for days. The daily Mail didnt' just expose them. A market was created with free advertising.

Crazy Chemist, Community pharmacist

Not linked to this company, but I have to remove so many nominations that other multiples have nominated without the patient's consent. When I question my customer, they had no idea why their script has been nominated to be dispensed elsewhere. The only reason I can think of is that they had picked up an acute rx from the closest chemist and after scanning the barcode, the chemist has decided to nominate them. Perhaps companies have set targets and staff are trying to unethically meet them?

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Gurjepal Pannu, Community pharmacist

Might be worth asking GPhc to look into the cases but then if its large multiples the Gphc are too scared to confront them

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