Pharmacy2U purchase of LloydsDirect given go ahead by competition regulator

The Competition and Markets Authority announced it was investigating the acquisition in December 2023.
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The purchase of LloydsDirect by Pharmacy2U has been approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following an investigation.

Publishing its decision on 12 March 2024, the CMA said that further details on its ruling would be published “shortly”.

Pharmacy2U announced in October 2023 that it had bought LloydsDirect for an undisclosed sum, bringing together the two companies that have the most patient nominations under the electronic prescription service (EPS).

According to the latest NHS Digital data, as of 8 March 2024, a total of 1.4 million patients have nominated both Pharmacy2U and LloydsDirect to receive their prescriptions electronically through the EPS.

In December 2023, the CMA announced that it was investigating Pharmacy2U’s purchase of LloydsDirect and was considering whether “a relevant merger situation has been created and whether the creation of that situation has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets”.

The CMA said the two companies had to operate separately while the investigation took place.

Then, in February 2024, the CMA revoked its initial order that barred the two companies from merging, while stating that its investigation was still continuing.

LloydsDirect, which was previously known as ‘Echo’ until a rebrand in 2021, was established in 2015. It was taken over by LloydsPharmacy’s then parent company McKesson in 2019.

Commenting on the CMA’s decision, Kevin Heath, chief executive of Pharmacy2U, said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the CMA’s report.

“We now embark on an exciting journey to bring together the two businesses, who going forward will operate under the Pharmacy2U brand. Our patients and the accessible service we offer them remain our top priority through this transition period and beyond.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2024, Vol 312, No 7983;312(7983)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.304121

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