The impact of ‘pseudo’ distance selling pharmacies

The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) has published a paper on the impact of what it is calling ‘pseudo’ distance selling pharmacies (DSPs). The report suggests that these ‘pseudo-DSPs’ are operating in breach of their contractual operations and placing the physical network of pharmacies in jeopardy.

Read the CCA’s paper

Responding to this report, we have released the following statement.

Our Director of Legal, Gordon Hockey, said:

“The CCA report once again highlights the need to tighten up the regulatory provisions around establishing and running Distance Selling Premises (DSP) pharmacies, and for NHS England to ensure that these pharmacies all do what they were intended to do – to provide pharmaceutical services at a distance. The report supports our existing arguments on this topic which we have already set out to the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England on many occasions, over a period of several years: they must enforce their own regulatory provisions.

In terms of remote provision of pharmacy services, Community Pharmacy England supports this where it can be carried out safely and within the conditions described in the service specification and Secretary of State directions. The impressive choice and accessibility of community pharmacy is the sector’s USP, and the safe provision of pharmacy services remotely is a valid part of this.

But all pharmacy owners – whether bricks and mortar or distance-selling – are broadly subject to the same Terms of Service and must be compliant with them. Where pharmacies are not compliant – and we know there are some examples of this despite broad compliance across the sector – NHS England/ICBs have the responsibility to check all pharmacies are complying with their Terms of Service and, where necessary and appropriate, take action to enforce them. In these extremely difficult times, it is particularly important that all businesses are operating on the level playing field set by the pharmaceutical regulations: the NHS and Government must enforce this.”