The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is consulting on whether to increase annual registration fees for pharmacy premises by £103 from October 2020.
In a consultation published on 7 January 2020, the GPhC said it was looking to raise the fees from £262 to £365, which it says would close the gap between fees paid by pharmacies and the actual cost of inspecting and regulating each pharmacy.
Therefore, the regulator is consulting on whether pharmacy owners should cover the full cost of regulating pharmacy premises.
Premises fees were most recently raised in 2019/2020 from £241 to £262. However, the proposed £103 increase is the largest fee increase for pharmacy owners since 2010.
A spokesperson for the National Pharmacy Association said the levy increase comes “at a time when community pharmacy finances are already under immense pressure”.
”We cannot possibly support such a steep increase in fees for pharmacy regulation,” they said. “The GPhC says it needs to cover its costs; however pharmacy contractors are bound to ask if the regulator is working as hard as pharmacies themselves to deliver efficiencies.”
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said the regulator “recognises the financial pressures that pharmacy owners are under”, adding that fee increases are “only proposed when necessary”.
“Since 2013, we have introduced significant changes in how we regulate and inspect pharmacies, improving the effectiveness of our regulatory approach and bringing benefits to patients, the public and pharmacies,” he said.
“We are proposing this change now because we need a robust and sustainable financial framework with fees that reflect the true cost of regulation.”
Registration fees for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will not be increased in 2020.