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Pharmacies Face Unprecedented Demand as Coronavirus Pandemic Continues

on Thursday, 26 March 2020.

Whilst the supply chain for medicines in the UK is generally holding up well during the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) pandemic, pharmacies are facing unprecedented demand - just as with supermarkets.

The National Pharmacy Association - the body which represents independent community pharmacies - has urged the public only to buy the medicines they need, after reporting "exceptionally high demand"

Coronavirus Legal Advice

Mark Lyonette, the Chief Executive of the NPA, reported that pharmacists were doing all they could to maintain the availability of medicines. However, he warned that the high demand could lead to longer waiting times, as prescriptions are processed.

He commented: "In most cases, pharmacies are currently able to meet need in a timely fashion, even if that means limiting the quantity of certain medicines sold to each customer. Certain products, for example hand sanitisers, paracetamol and thermometers, are only intermittently available."

He added a request from the public: "Please only buy the medicines you need now for you and your family; this will help to avoid creating difficulties for others, so that everyone in your community gets the medicines they need."

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council reported that people in pharmacies were under significant pressure currently, and that there were increasing stories of staff being subject to "abuse, disorder and even violence" from members of the public.

Mr Rudkin said: "Abuse of pharmacy staff is never acceptable. Pharmacy is a key part of the national response and its workforce are entitled to be treated with the same respect as other key healthcare professionals."


These are concerning times, but it is encouraging to hear that sensible action continues to be taken to preserve supplies in pharmacies. Pharmacists play a very important role in the nation's health and are doing all they can.  We would encourage everyone to buy sensibly and treat pharmacists with respect.

If you have any thoughts on this issue, please share them with Paul Gershlick in our Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences team on 01923 919 320, or complete the form below.


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