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RPS suffers £180,000 blow to fees income

Business The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has been hit by an estimated £177,533 drop in its fee income in the past year due to a fall in the number of members and fellows, C+D has calculated.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has suffered a near £180,000 blow to its fee income in the past year due to a fall in the number of full members and fellows, C+D has calculated.

Last week, the RPS reported a 3 per cent increase in total membership between June 2012 and June 2013, but a 7 per cent drop in the number of full members and fellows, who pay the highest annual fees. This resulted in a 3.4 per cent (£177,533) drop in the RPS's fee income, C+D estimated.

The decrease in members and fellows paying £182 in annual fees caused an estimated £332,332 fall in income. However, this was mitigated by a sharp rise in associate members, which brought in an estimated £154,799 of extra income. Associate membership was mainly made up of pre-reg pharmacists, who pay £67 a year for their membership.

The RPS's drop in fees income this year is more modest than last year's estimated £600,000

More on the RPS

RPS generates £11m profit from sale of Lambeth HQ

RPS membership sneaks up but full membership slips

RPS unveils Smithfield HQ to save £400,000 a year


C+D's calculations made a number of assumptions. The RPS did not give a full breakdown of its associate members, so C+D has assumed pre-registration pharmacists represent 75 per cent of the category, in line with last year's estimates. C+D also assumed that all paying members benefited from a direct debit discount; if none do, the 3.4 per cent income fall totals £188,144.  

C+D also assumed that all student members are UK-based, receiving free membership (overseas students pay £48) and that all full members and fellows pay standard fees (no discounts for non-practising or overseas members).   

The estimated £177,533 loss in fee earnings is a more modest drop than last year's estimated £600,000, created by a 14 per cent fall in members and fellows.

Responding to this year's estimated fee income fall, the RPS said it had a strong offer and expected a growing number of people to join, after gaining 1,104 new members in the first half of this year.

"The fact members are joining the society in increasing numbers is fantastic news," it told C+D. We have a strong offer in place and anticipate increased numbers of pharmacists joining us when students become pre-regs and when pre-regs qualify."

Earlier this month, the RPS officially launched its faculty, a professional recognition programme that aims to provide a "quality mark" to those outside pharmacy.

The RPS also confirmed last week that it generated nearly £11 million in profit from the sale of its Lambeth premises earlier this month and that it had bought the new site in East Smithfield, London, for £6m.

C+D's calculations for members benefiting from direct debit discount


Associate members = 2,548

1,911 pre-regs paying £67 a year = £128,037 (estimating that 75 per cent of associate members are pre-regs)

637 paying £182 a year = £115,934

Total = £243,971

Members and fellows = 26,174

26,174 paying £182 a year = £4,763,668

Total = £243,971 + £4,763,688 = £5,007,639



Associate members = 931

698 pre-regs paying £67 a year = £46,766 (estimating that 75 per cent of associate members are pre-regs)

233 full members paying £182 a year = £42,406

Total = £89,172

Members and fellows = 28,000

28,000 paying £182 a year = £5,096,000

Total = £89,172 + £5,096,000 = £5,185,172

Fee income fall between 2013 and 2012: £5,185,172 - £5,007,639 = £177,533 (3.4 per cent)

How can the RPS reverse the trend of declining fees income?

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RB Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I was member of RPS for first year and got nothing out of it. I would rather have membership of PDA, at least they will defend me when I need them. on the other hand, RPS has done nothing to give me confidence that they are representing pharmacists. why RPS does not lobby to improve working conditions for pharmacists, limit number of pharmacy students and many other issues which pharmacists like me on the ground level face everyday. But no, RPS will not do it. Just look at BMA and RPS can learn many things from them.

Yacoob Maskeen, Community pharmacist

yes you are absolutely correct in what you say. They do not care about us pharmacists. The BMA looks after its doctors, making sure they are paid well for their services. We study five years for the MPharm degree and its hardly worth the paper its written on.

Yacoob Maskeen, Community pharmacist

whether it be the RPS or GPhC, both are just concerned about their own financial figures. We pharmacists are suffering badly with hardly any locum work out there, and what little crumbs there is out there its nothing to write home about. Do they care about us?

How High?, Community pharmacist

There are 2 issues.

Firstly employers no longer pick up the tab and those of us on the ground floor are wondering what we actually get for our money.
Secondly with the another body (i.e. The PDA) we actually get a representative voice, direct support when we need it and indemnity insurance.

Now if the two were to merge.........................................

geoffrey gardener, Community pharmacist

What we need is a body like The Royal College of Nurses, or the BMA that is actually going to bang a drum and do something useful for pharmacists, and not just pharmacy. I can still remember when you used to log onto the website, and the first thing you saw was How to make a Claim against a pharmacist! I know things are different now but leopards and spots comes to mind.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Geoffrey you are confusing the OLD RPSGB (which we all loved to hate.....) with the new one. Don't believe me? Click here: And check for yourself


Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

If the RPS had remained a professional body for pharmacists ONLY then perhaps this would not have happened. No good boasting about an increase in members when it is due to thousands of students who pay nout. There appears to be nearly 50,000 pharmacists on the GPhC register and only 26,000 qualified working members in the RPS. That speaks volumes!

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

We should give the RPS an opportunity to grow, develop and mature into a robust professional organisation. I understand the issues regarding membership for non pharmacists but it is still a sizeable organisation. The RCN does allow membership status for support workers and healthcare assistants trying to establish itself as a profession. So, it may be wrong to fully deny associate or student membership to technicians and pharmaceutical scientists,

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

I'm afraid there is not time for the RPS to grow, and needed an experienced pharmacist at the helm to hit the ground running. The RPS has ignored all the warnings on unemployment and to suggest capping UK student numbers is a joke. All this malarkey about royal college is tiresome, the multiples will just employ the cheapest pharmacists from the EU. The same problem of unemployment is also in hospital, where there are nearly 1,000 EU pharmacists working as dispensers and pharmacy assistants while they take the conversion course. There are now 5 places to do the conversion courses in the UK but none in the opposite direction. Where pharmacists retire or leave, they are being replaced by technicians, and where technicians leave they are being replaced by assistants. We have reduced pharmacy staff and yet have more patients, hence stress.
I cannot see any future for this years pre-regs and gather from many sources that only 1 in 4 of last years UK graduates have found jobs as pharmacists.

Shilpa Gohil, Industrial pharmacist

If we want to have membership of a pharmacist professional body as a fundamental bond, then why should we not have pharmacy students as members of the RPS, they will be registering as pharmacists at the end of their degree. Our profession is not the only one that is affected by increased numbers and competition. If it was not time for the RPS to grow then it would not here in the present - that is proof in itself.

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

NO. NO. NO. Only 50% of the membership of the RPS are pharmacists and registered as such with the GPhC. I had asked for a student association which would have been the stepping stone and then on registration membership of the professional organisation. The fundamental bond is registration as a pharmacist and not all pharmacy graduates become pharmacists. You cannot have a system where membership is not equal and some have to obey the regulator and some do not. There is the danger that those not registered as pharmacists could be leaders of such a "professional body" where the rest of us have different rules to obey from our regulator to our leaders. What would happen if we had a pharmaceutical scientist who was not a pharmacist but became president of the RPS? What link would he/she have with the GPhC which is the professions regulator? The RPS can grow with as many Tom, Dick and Harry's that you want to give membership to, but it is only a professional body if EVERYONE in it is a member of that single profession.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Dorothy- the RPS IS de facto the Royal College for Pharmacists. Are you suggesting that the tiny number of pharmaceutical scientist members (way less than 1% of the total membership) has had such a profound negative effect? If so lets have the evidence of such.

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

Graham, nobody is more passionate about our profession then I am. But I have seen it ruined by diversity and inclusiveness. We had pharmacy technicians who could vote on items that only related to pharmacist professional matters.The same will happen with scientists who originally asked for equal membership with pharmacists.
Membership of a pharmacists professional body is the fundamental bond that holds them together as a single profession, which provides pharmacists of all sectors, with a common identity and a degree of protection which we could well do to cherish and defend. (ref Stan Holloway)

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Dorothy, I cannot for the life of me understand why you still persist in re-cycling arguments about the deficiencies of the old RPSGB in its OLD role as a regulator as well as a professional body. (For the record, I agree, the OLD RPSGB was a disaster as a professional leadership body).

I also have to point out that the decision to allow pharmaceutical scientists partial membership of the new RPS was not imposed. All the members were consulted and the consultation period lasted several months. Every single member (including you, Dorothy) was given a democratic right to be heard on the issue. In the end, in a democratic vote of ALL the members, the limited membership currently on offer to pharmaceutical scientists was supported by clear majority. Only pharmacists were allowed to vote.

Dorothy I can only conclude that you do not respect the democratic decisions of your peers.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Yes the old RPSGB was a disaster as a professional leadership body but so is the new RPS. If it wants to know what an organisation should be doing to further the cause of pharmacists and support its members then it needs to start looking at the PDA.

What do pharmacists actually get for their annual fee? - very little from what I can see and I'm not the only one. The RPS will continue to decline in influence and importance no matter how many non-pharmacist members it wants to recruit to boost numbers and mask its reducing popularity.

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

I 'm not sure it was democratic. As I remember it we were asked two questions together and only able to give one answer. That enabled non-pharmacists to be brought in through the back door. Jacob Bell sought to raise the standard and first had to overcome the different qualifications and standards of chemists and druggists. The Royal Charter of 1843 was to make a single profession, all registered and qualified to the same standard but still able to work in different sectors as now. Our single profession will only survive if it has a professional body representing that single profession.

Tim B, Locum pharmacist

I should say so!!!!

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