Pharmacies facing increased overheads due to COVID-19 outbreak

Pharmacies facing increased overheads due to COVID-19 outbreak

Pharmacies across the UK are facing tremendous pressure in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Demand for over-the-counter medicines has significantly increased due to GP surgeries closing and, in some cases, panic buying of certain medicines as a result of lockdown.

Not only has retail demand surged, but with  restricted social measures in place and the increase of those self-isolating, the government has called for home delivery services to become more widely available.

Although the government has announced plans to help pharmacies fund the service, many pharmacists have raised concerns about how this increased demand in home deliveries will be initially financed, until that funding becomes available.

 

Woodsford RxBridge are the market leaders in providing specialist finance solutions for the independent pharmacy sector. With over 200 facilities arranged to date, pharmacies can use the facility to rapidly inject working capital where it is most needed. Most importantly, it sits alongside existing bank facilities allowing businesses to draw down only what they need the same day, with easy online access and no impact to their banking relationships.

To find out how much funding could be available to your pharmacy, try our funding calculator.

 

Funding the increased demand in home deliveries

According to Leyla Hannbeck, Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, “members are very worried. Many are offering deliveries free of charge to vulnerable people, but they are under a lot of pressure and without appropriate funding this service cannot be sustainable”.

Although Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, has announced that the cost of delivering medicines to vulnerable patients who are self-isolating will be reimbursed, pharmacies will have to fund the service upfront creating a working capital shortfall for many.

However, it is not just the vulnerable who are changing the way they receive their medication. Customers are switching to home deliveries regardless of their situation as many heed the Stay at Home message. It is uncertain whether this overall extra demand is likely to be covered by the reimbursement scheme.

Alternative finance options for pharmacies

There are financing options available to pharmacies that may help relieve the financial pressure they are currently facing. Whether that be a CBILS loan from the government, pharmacy specific loans or a working capital facility.

Recognising that one of the biggest issues facing pharmacies at present is cashflow, a working capital facility can provide them with the flexibility to fund the increase in costs due to the uplift in wholesale prices, the reluctance to pass higher prices onto customers due to the current situation or the changes in services such as deliveries.

With the situation constantly developing, it is worthwhile pharmacies taking the time to investigate the different funding options available to them to help navigate through this period. This will allow for them to plan their finances until the government announce an update in the coming weeks.

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