The NHS Digital report referred to in this article is in line with our experiences that there are still relatively few applications being made to consolidate pharmacies. On the whole most of the ‘straightforward’ consolidation applications we have seen have been made by the large and medium-sized multiple pharmacy groups looking to reduce numbers in locations where they have two or more branches. Consolidations between competitors are still very rare.

However, we are seeing a much greater number of applications to transfer 40 hour pharmacy contracts into 100 hour pharmacies. Whilst these are not true ‘consolidations’ from a regulatory point of view, the effect is the same in that pharmacy numbers are being reduced. In our view, this trend is likely to continue for the next year or two at least.

If you are considering consolidation you may wish to read our publication which provides more details on the commercial and regulatory implications of merging pharmacies.