Online pharmacy Pharmacy2U has announced that it has bought LloydsDirect, with plans to merge into one digital-first pharmacy.
In a joint statement, published on 9 October 2023, the two companies said the combined company will continue under the Pharmacy2U brand, with changes made “over time”.
The statement added that the move brings together “two of the most trusted and experienced online pharmacies in the UK” and would offer patients even greater accessibility to online pharmacy and healthcare services, taking advantage of the combined expertise.
NHS electronic prescription service (EPS) nominations data for September 2023 show Pharmacy2U and LloydsDirect have the first and second highest number of patients, respectively, nominating them as their preferred option for receiving medicines prescribed electronically. Combining the two will give Pharmacy2U 1.4 million EPS nominations.
Pharmacy2U would not say how much it had paid for LloydsDirect, but a spokesperson told The Pharmaceutical Journal that jobs for staff at either company were not at risk.
“Our focus is on looking after our patients and our people,” the spokesperson said.
“At this stage, we are not envisaging there will be any impact on colleagues.”
In the joint statement, Pharmacy2U said its ambition was to build on its repeat dispensing and clinical services offer to “bolster NHS capacity in the delivery of sustainable and forward-looking primary care services”.
LloydsDirect, formerly part of the LloydsPharmacy group, said in the statement that it was looking for new ways to provide greater patient access to pharmacy products and services.
Patients would see no change in how they order or receive their medicines, the statement added.
LloydsDirect was established in 2015. It was known as Echo until a rebrand in 2021, and taken over by LloydsPharmacy’s then parent company McKesson in 2019.
In 2022, LloydsPharmacy’s financial statement for 2020/2021 reported a dramatic increase in revenue from the online pharmacy portion of the business, with LloydsDirect growing by more than 700%.
At the beginning of 2023, LloydsPharmacy announced it would withdraw pharmacy services from all Sainsbury’s supermarkets, affecting all 237 branches and leading to hundreds of redundancies.
In the joint statement, Kevin Heath, chief executive officer of Pharmacy2U, said: “‘We are delighted to welcome the LloydsDirect team into the Pharmacy2U family.
“We have admired their significant achievements over the past 8 years, in particular their innovation in patient experience and focus on sustainability.”
He added: “Together we bring committed leadership, a passion for pharmacy and an expanded portfolio of digital health products and services, coupled with a state-of-the-art dispensing technology.”
Connie Cha, managing director of LloydsDirect, said: “First and foremost, we believe this will be good for patients and the work we do to support the NHS.”