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The Community Pharmacy Sector

By: Tom Leahy | Posted on: 15 Feb 2016

The Community Pharmacy Sector



Clearly the last few years have been very difficult for the Community Pharmacist with falling reimbursements from state schemes and poor prevailing economic conditions driving turnover and profits down.  The State has extracted more than €1.8bn from the medicine supply chain since 2009 and this is set to continue with Reference Pricing and reduced Government spending.  


In addition the growth of the Pharmacy multiples and chain operators will continue to present challenges to single outlet independent pharmacists.


However, with economic conditions now improving and reaching deeper into the regions there will be opportunities for pharmacists who are willing to innovate and improve efficiencies, possibly through expansion as acquisition possibilities become available. 


At BDM Boylan we have a dedicated Pharmacy team who have developed expertise and specialism in the area of Pharmacy Sector matters.   We believe we can add real value for business owners at a time of significant change for the sector.  We can assist in the build out of a clear Strategic Plan to help your pharmacy grow sales and profitability to help meet your long term ambitions through building a sustainable business model that meets the changing needs of the marketplace.


Pharmacists rank second only to nurses as the healthcare professional most trusted by the public.


Pharmacists are the most accessible primary care service providers with 85 million individual visits made to pharmacies every year in Ireland.  Recent Republic of Ireland statistics issued by the IPU confirmed that pharmacists delivered more than 32,000 flu jabs before Christmas 2014 which heretofore would have been administered at the GP surgery.


Further expansion of the role of the pharmacist to unburden GP’s is anticipated if/when “free GP care” starts to impact.  This will empower pharmacists to provide a more accessible range of care options and thereby improving the ongoing viability of the business.


Extended opening hours – the average community pharmacy in Republic of Ireland is open 50% longer than GP clinics.  Consequently, pharmacy-based health checks would have significant advantages in terms of reach, accessibility and cost effectiveness.  The current shortage of GP’s is unlikely to be resolved in the short-term particularly noting over 1000 Irish GP’s took up work in the NHS in Northern Ireland and United Kingdom since 2009 according to the IPU.  The IPU Quarterly Business Trends Survey Quarter 3 2014 indicated a positive shift in the mood music among pharmacists.


24% (9% in Quarter 2) were optimistic about business prospects.
24% (11% in Quarter 2) rate the business environment as improving
36% expect to increase their footfall in next 3 months.
13% (6% in Quarter 2) reported improved sales in the last 3 months


Overall the business indicators are even more positive today than in Q3 2014 while some challenges still remain.  The market post reference pricing is an opportune environment for acquisitions for progressive players who have growth plans while presenting a better opportunity for a stronger sale for those choosing to sell. 


Whether you are a buyer or a seller we at BDM Boylan have a team that can optimise outcome for all parties.  We have specialists who can support your requirements in all areas of Legal and Business Advisory from Commercial and Employment Law Matters to Bank Restructuring and Funding. 


Please try us – you will not be disappointed with the value we add for you and your business. 

Tom Leahy


BDM Boylan Solicitors