Pharmacy2U is to open a new dispensing facility that will enable it to increase its dispensing capacity to 7.5 million items a month, more than 16 times its current capacity.
A spokesperson for the UK’s largest online pharmacy said that the company had grown by over 250% in the past 18 months.
“Our current dispensing facility already dispenses over 450,000 items of medicine to patients each month and is capable of distributing one million medicines each month.
“Next year we will be opening a new dispensing facility that gives us the capacity to dispense 7.5 million items of medicine each month as part of our plans to continue this period of growth, and service the demand for NHS repeat prescriptions delivered direct to patients.”
It is reported that the new facility, which is due to open in 2019, will be based in Leicestershire. Pharmacy2U’s current centralised dispensing facility, which opened in 2015, is based in Leeds.
In July 2016, Pharmacy2U merged with competitor Chemist Direct in a £40m deal to become the sector’s leading digital pharmacy business in the UK, with a reach of 1.5 million customers.
Two years later, Pharmacy2U published a briefing paper for MPs and policymakers claiming that online dispensing could save the NHS £1.2bn over three years.
In the document, Pharmacy2U calculated the potential savings of online dispensing by looking at the remuneration it received from dispensing 300,000 items a month compared with the average high street pharmacy, which, it claimed, dispenses only 7,000 items a month.
However, in July 2018 the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that claims made in advertisements from Pharmacy2U that it could save the NHS £300m by managing repeat prescriptions were “misleading” and “unsubstantiated”.