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Energy bills increase could hit pharmacies by £60m, warns NPA chief

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Energy bills increase could hit pharmacies by £60m, warns NPA chief

By Neil Trainis

National Pharmacy Association chief executive Mark Lyonette has warned soaring energy bills could cost the community pharmacy network more than £60m and insisted the rise was “unsustainable” given the sector’s current funding.

The Government is coming under increasing pressure from MPs, campaign groups and business leaders to provide a support package to help cushion the blow of an energy cap that will jump from a household average of £1,971 a year to £3,549 from October before increasing again next year.

Concerns have been raised about the impact on community pharmacies, with smaller independents already struggling with rising medicines prices and other costly overheads potentially forced to close as a result.

“As small to medium sized businesses, our members can’t easily hedge costs and negotiate deals with energy suppliers," Lyonette said. 

NPA board member Olivier Picard published a screenshot of his estimated bill on WhatsApp showing it could go from £1,821 for one pharmacy to £6,914.

“This is an eye-watering rise in costs for my own pharmacies and adds to the intense financial pressure we’re already under. My standing charges will multiply by 10 and the overall cost to each pharmacy amounts to about £5,000.”

The NPA is expected to publish a report later this month revealing the impact of inflationary cost pressures on community pharmacies and Lyonette warned the energy crisis will heap further hardship on contractors.

“If Olivier’s experience is typical, we’re looking at a hit across the network upwards of £60m from electricity bills alone,” he said, adding the figure was “a very rough extrapolation.”

“Such cost increases are clearly unsustainable within the current NHS funding envelope.”

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