Following the High Court’s ruling on 18 May 2017 rejecting the case made against the government’s funding cuts to community pharmacy in England, many may be left wondering what the future holds for the community pharmacy market.
I can say from our own transactional evidence that sales activity not only remains buoyant, but has increased through the period of the funding cuts uncertainty.
Our most recent figures show that, from October 2016 to May 2017, there was a 64% increase in sales that exchanged or completed in England when compared with the same period a year previously. This comes on the back of the fact that, as part of Christie & Co’s annual price indices, pharmacy prices were recorded to have risen on average by 12% across the UK in 2016.
Largely fuelling this rise in activity is the increase in first-time buyers who have come to us enquiring about getting a foot on the property ladder and owning their own pharmacy. These have mainly been locums and pharmacy managers who are anticipating the squeeze on their current positions, as pharmacy owners seek to mitigate the cuts through efficiency savings such as cutting staff hours and rates.
With many purchasers and lenders still viewing the market with long-term confidence, the pharmacy sector can at least now look ahead with certainty that the funding cuts are here to stay. This has been echoed by existing operators at a series of regional events and conferences that we have either hosted or attended in recent weeks, with many operators now keen to move forward through investment into their business or additional acquisitions.
Although I clearly acknowledge that the impact of the funding cuts will be felt by pharmacies throughout England, hopefully some consolation can be taken from the fact that the appetite in the marketplace has persisted and the sector continues to show its renowned resilience.
Head of Pharmacy
Christie & Co