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Numark are launching a new campaign encouraging pharmacists to highlight why patients should support their local pharmacy, rather than switching to an online service. An increasing number of people are choosing to get their prescription from an online dispensary which is having a detrimental effect on local pharmacy, even though online pharmacies offer a very limited overall health service.

Online pharmacies are seeing significant growth in scripts, yet retention rates are very often low, with as many as 80% of those who initially sign up subsequently returning to a local pharmacy. Patients are often unaware that they are signing up to a remotely located provider who is not linked to their local pharmacy. Numark understands the importance of local pharmacy within the community and believes patients can get a much better all-round experience by using them. Whilst patients might think that an online dispensary is an easier option, not only do they miss out on the other services a local pharmacy offers, but it is also potentially less efficient and less safe.

If an online prescription is not successfully delivered, patients either have to wait for a redelivery or go out of their way to collect it from their post office, all of which would be far more time consuming than if they had gone to their local pharmacy to begin with. If a prescription doesn’t turn up or there’s a problem with the medication, the patient has to then phone someone to try and get it fixed. Not only is that time consuming and frustrating, but medicine that is delivered late can pose a number of risks to patients who may end up going without a much needed drug for a few days. The Christmas and New year period has proven to be very difficult for many online pharmacy users.

Jeremy Meader, Managing Director of Numark, has said, “Community pharmacy is all about providing patients with an accessible and high-quality health service. Online pharmacies are unable to provide the same level of personal care and we want to see patients remaining loyal to their local pharmacists who are continuing to provide an excellent service that goes beyond prescriptions.”

From flu and travel vaccination services, to smoking cessation, or getting mental health advice, a community pharmacy is so much more than just a place to get prescriptions. Patients can receive their prescription in hand from the pharmacist, get face-to-face specialist advice, and get access to wide variety of other health services. An online pharmacy can’t ask a patient how they’re getting on with their medication, or ask if they need a flu vaccination, or recommend an OTC treatment for their hayfever or cold.

It is this quality patient care that Numark will be promoting in the campaign. By encouraging community pharmacists to highlight the range of services they have to offer, patients will see how they can benefit from continuing to use and support their local pharmacy.

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