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Price drop in medicine payments could be final straw for community pharmacies after waves of Government cuts - MP

August 1, 2018 11:34 AM

Tim with Simon ButterworthSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has warned that a new price drop in medicine payments could potentially see the end for local community pharmacies, after years of heavy Government cuts to the industry.

Last month, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee announced that there would be a 17p-per-item price drop, which would lead to community pharmacies losing around £1,200 a year.

Even before this cut, the money pharmacies received from the NHS often didn't even cover the cost of the drug being dispensed.

In one shocking case, last November, Collins and Butterworth in Hawkshead received £5000 less in NHS payments than their total drug cost for the month.

Cuts have led to around 140 community pharmacies being forced to close over the past two years.

Earlier this year, Tim started a petition calling for the Government to fully fund the costs that community pharmacies have to pay for medicines and for an Essential Community Pharmacy Scheme to be set up to provide core funding so that community pharmacies won't be forced to close.

Tim said: "This announcement may well sadly be the final straw for many community pharmacies up and down the country.

"Large national chains can obviously subsidise their pharmacy operation with other sales in store - but that option is not open to smaller pharmacies in some of our town and villages. Yet, in those places, pharmacies provide an even more vital service, especially for the most vulnerable in our society.

"Community pharmacies are also massively important in easing the pressures on A&E departments, so by cutting the funding for local pharmacies the Government have shot themselves in the foot.

"We need to keep sending that strong message to the Government that they must intervene now to prevent the closures of our local community pharmacies."

To sign Tim's petition, go here