Community Pharmacy in 2016-17 and Beyond

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:31 am on 20th October 2016.

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Photo of David Mowat David Mowat The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 11:31 am, 20th October 2016

The answer to that question is, I do not know. It is possible that none will close. I do not believe that 3,000 will close. However, I would say this. The average operating margin that the pharmacy makes on the numbers that I quoted earlier is 15%. That is after salaries and rent. The cuts that we are making, or the efficiencies that we are asking for, are significantly lower than that. Of course there is no such thing as an average pharmacy, which is why I cannot guarantee that there will be no changes. What I can say is that, if there are mergers and if there is some consolidation, that demand does not go away—it goes to the other pharmacies in the cluster. To say that those pharmacies will be put under more pressure is plain wrong.

I say again that what we are doing is building an industry that is fit for the future, that is modern and that is adding value in a way it has not been able to do in the past.