Forty-two of 156 respondents to the poll – which ran on the C+D website from November 21 to December 4 – said their pharmacy planned to start charging patients for home deliveries, and 65 (42%) said they “are considering” charging patients for the service.
Forty-four (28%) respondents said they would not charge for home deliveries, while five respondents (3%) said they already do so.
Lloydspharmacy announced last month (November 21) that “over the next few weeks” it will start charging new patients for medicines deliveries: introducing a charge of £35 for a six-month subscription to the service, and £60 for a 12-month subscription.
View the poll results:
“Others will follow”
Independent contractor Indira Panchal, who owns four pharmacies in Bedford, said she would consider charging patients for home deliveries.
“[A time is] going to come when people have to charge. We can’t carry on like this because it does cost a lot of money,” she told C+D.
“Once the big boys start, then the others will follow. If they charge why shouldn’t we?”
Ms Panchal – whose husband Sailesh (pictured above) and another employee deliver medicines to patients – stressed she would deliver for free to elderly or housebound patients.
“A very tricky question”
Alan Kurtz, the owner of Fisher’s Pharmacy in South Norwood, London, said that if “everyone else” charges for deliveries, he would follow suit.
Mr Kurtz’s pharmacy has two drivers who complete between 50 and 100 deliveries daily, six days a week, and he told C+D it is “one of the most costly things we do”.
Whether his pharmacy would charge for the service was a “very tricky question”.
“It’s increasingly difficult for us to pay for it but we’re in a competitive situation”, he said.
“We’re a service industry, part of a caring profession. We’re delivering to people who are being looked after by carers, people who are quite poor. Some people just can’t [pay].”
Read about the uncertain future of pharmacy delivery drivers here.