Rowlands Pharmacy is “progressing” offers for several of the 70 pharmacies that it has put up for sale, Kenny Black, the chain’s managing director, has told The Pharmaceutical Journal.
The multiple announced in February 2019 that it was selling 70 of its pharmacies — 69 in England and 1 in Wales — to focus on “investing significantly” in automation across a “slightly smaller Rowlands pharmacy network”.
Black said that Rowlands was selling the pharmacies as “going concerns” (businesses that were expected to continue as normal after bring sold, rather than being sold to close), adding that “offers had been made”, some of which the firm was “starting to progress”.
Announcing the sale of the pharmacies, Rowlands said that it would invest in central dispensing models and that it would be “changing [its] dispensing processes in order to deliver sustainable, profitable growth for the business [and] enable colleagues to spend more time with patients”.
Talking to The Pharmaceutical Journal
, Black said independent pharmacy was “the most positive area” in the market at the moment.
Despite Rowlands’s focus on automation to improve dispensing, Black was critical of the move towards online pharmacy.
He claimed that patients who were receiving their prescriptions through mail order were getting “no service”.
Instead, he asked: “How do you counteract it? You try to show the strengths of the current community pharmacy model, which is face to face, rather than getting a box through your door.
“We’ve dabbled in e-pharmacy; we have an internet site which tells you where all the pharmacies are and what services we offer, but we don’t do prescriptions. I think pharmacy is about health and advice, and you’re not getting that from an online pharmacy. If you want that type of advice, go and speak to Mr Google.”