John Nuttall, chief executive of Well Pharmacy, has told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the business has no plans to close any of its pharmacies.
In October 2017, it was announced that LloydsPharmacy planned to close or sell 190 pharmacies in England that were no longer “commercially viable”. And recent Department of Health and Social Care data showed that the number of ‘bricks and mortar’ pharmacies in England had dropped by 134 between November 2016 and April 2018.
But, in an exclusive interview with The Pharmaceutical Journal, Nuttall confirmed that there was “no strategic initiative to reduce the size of the footprint of the business” at Well and that the independent multiple would “as far as we can, hold the stores we have”.
The business plans to expand, although “not necessarily through bricks and mortar,” he added.
Nuttall also spoke of the need for meaningful talks between pharmacists and policymakers.
“Pharmacy’s driven itself into a place which is uncomfortable both for pharmacy and for government,” he said.
“This brinkmanship around funding and the High Court has not been helpful in creating a dialogue.”
Describing the decision to cut community pharmacy funding as “very regrettable”, Nuttall said the government had “done really well out of pharmacy … we’ve brought down drug pricing in this country substantially over the last 10-15 years”.
“It would be great if everyone could get in a room and talk,” he added.
Well describes itself as the country’s largest independent pharmacy chain, and currently operates 794 pharmacies throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.
Read the full interview with Nuttall.