UK: Pharmacy Brief - September 2010

Last Updated: 13 September 2010
Article by David Reissner

Pharmacy Show – 10 and 11 October 2010

Visit David Reissner and the rest of the Pharmacy Team at our stand at the Pharmacy Show on 10 and 11 October 2010, at the NEC. You can find us at Stand J85.

David Reissner will be a keynote speaker at the Chemist & Druggist Conference at 1.10pm and will join the C&D Senate Live later in the afternoon. If you would like a fixed time to see a member of the team at the Show, please email with your expected time of arrival and an idea of the topic you want to discuss.

Midlands Seminar - 19 October 2010

Our Manchester seminar in July was heavily oversubscribed and we are grateful for the enthusiastic feedback we received from those who attended. We will re-run the seminar at a Midlands venue on 19 October 2010. We will give presentations on:

  • Has Pharmacy Law kept pace with modern technology?
  • Pharmacy Transactions - traps for the unwary
  • Key issues for Pharmacy properties
  • Control of Entry from 2011 - and the White Paper

There will be no charge for the seminar, but numbers will be limited. To reserve a place, please email

All Change

The last few months have been a hectic time for anyone trying to keep up with changes in the law affecting pharmacy. Here is a snapshot:

GPhC Rules (OK?)

Regulations laid before Parliament declared that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's regulatory functions will be taken over by the General Pharmaceutical Council on 27 September 2011.

The GPhC has to hit the ground running, and has acted with impressive haste in establishing a raft of new procedural rules for the exercise of its functions. Various draft rules were published, and consultation on the drafts ended on 4 May 2010. By 18 June, the GPhC had not only considered responses, but made decisions on all of them, finalising all the rules and approving them at a formal meeting. It is difficult to discern any significant changes to the original drafts.

Bizarrely, the RPSGB responded to the GPhC consultations. It isn't clear whether its comments were made as regulator responsible for policing the profession - its current role - which would be rather like the GPhC responding to itself: or as a professional leadership body - a role it will not have until 27 September.

Control of Entry

Regulations made in April ordered PCTs to prepare Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments by February 2011. The Regulations list the things PCTs must have regard to in their PNAs, from the age profile of local people to gender reassignment, and to the geography of a PCT's area. From next year, the PNAs will be a key feature in a new control of entry test, governing the award of new pharmacy contracts. Or will they?

White Paper

While PCTs are presumably already hard at work preparing PNAs, the Government has published a White Paper, setting out changes in the law, and surrounding the plans to change control of entry with confusion.

Plans for GP consortia to manage the primary care budget caught the headlines. Key issues for pharmacy are:

  • Community pharmacy will become the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board
  • PCTs will no longer have commissioning functions
  • Health improvement functions will be transferred to local authorities. Local Authorities will have health and wellbeing boards
  • PCTs will be abolished from 2013

No one has yet told PCTs to stop spending time and money preparing PNAs, but it isn't clear how the White Paper fits in with the changes due to take place next year. This has caused speculation as to whether the Government intends to abolish control of entry.

Control of Entry to be Abolished?

There are several reasons why abolishing control of entry would cause severe problems to patients, the Government, and to pharmacy owners:

  • All 100-hour pharmacies would immediately convert to 40-hour contracts
  • The increase in the number of pharmacy contracts would mean the Government would lose control over spending on pharmacies
  • Like the mistake the Department of Health made when introducing 100-hour contracts in 2005, there would be no way to prevent pharmacies clustering around GPs, rather than opening where there is a need
  • Pharmacy businesses that include goodwill in their balance sheets will see that value wiped out

Planning Issues for Pharmacists

Failure to have the correct planning permissions can result in enforcement proceedings that prevent a pharmacy from trading. Most pharmacies sell ancillary products as well as medicines such as cosmetics, toiletries and foods. Pharmacies in health centres may not come under the same planning classification as pharmacies in high street locations, and may not be permitted to make retail sales. Other planning issues that could result in enforcement proceedings by local authorities involve work to modernise or improve the security of shop fronts, and the erection of new signage.

It's a Deal

Our Pharmacy Transactions Team headed by Tim Jenkins report a busy quarter with a steady stream of sale and purchase instructions, together with a number of instructions to advise pharmacists forming joint ventures with GP practices both for new NHS Contracts as well as relocations.

Completed transactions handled by the Team include:-

  • Acting for Doctors Tim and Rowena Hill and Alexander and Susan Maccallum on the sale of West Sussex based MH Medical Ltd to the Paydens Pharmacy Group (sale brokered by Hutchings Consultants)
  • Acting for a Pharmacy Company selling one of its East Anglia based NHS Contracts (by way of relocation) to a national multiple

Our understanding of pharmacy businesses enables us to offer a competitively priced, added value, full service for clients both large and small, and whether buying or selling companies, pharmacy partnerships or sole trader businesses.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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David Reissner
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