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Industry leaders say Britain’s community pharmacies face being decimated by rise of online giants like Amazon Pharmacy
Concern: Leyla Hannbeck of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
Britain’s community pharmacies face being decimated by the rise of online giants like Amazon Pharmacy, industry leaders have said.
The pandemic has pushed customers to go online to get medicines, intensifying competition for the small pot of NHS money.
But bosses warned High Street pharmacies will go out of business, starving customers – who are often elderly or vulnerable – of face-to-face advice.
In March Amazon announced its intention to sweep into the sector by registering the trademark for ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ after launching in the US last year.
The move sent a chill through independent businesses, which have been left ‘bordering on the precipice’ by the pandemic, because of the collapse in High Street footfall. Last year EY found that a third of family-owned pharmacies were loss-making, and predicted the figure will rise to 72 per cent within four years.
The industry claims it stops 575,000 people per year ending up in NHS accident & emergency and walk-in centres. Suki Rai, a pharmacist in Hampshire, said: ‘Most pharmacies are bordering on the precipice. The Government wants people to use us, while trying to kill us.’
Leyla Hannbeck of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMP) said: ‘These businesses are at risk of going under.’