NPA acts on concerns about misleading advertising of pharmacy services

07 Oct 2020

You might have seen media coverage about NPA taking action against misleading advertising of pharmacy services.

We have recently raised concerns with the NHS and pharmacy regulators about claims made in advertising by Pharmacy2U and Echo.

The NPA believes that certain claims made by Pharmacy2U may contravene GPhC standards which require advertising to be accurate, truthful and not exploitative of any lack of knowledge among the public.

By using Pharmacy2U, you’re helping the NHS” in isolation is a claim that cannot be substantiated, we believe. When all the additional benefits to the NHS of accessing face to face support from a bricks and mortar pharmacy is taken into account, arguably the opposite is true.  Their statement “We’ve been paid over £9,000,000m less in NHS fees than an average high street pharmacy” may be intended to provide some justification to the earlier statement. However, the NHS agrees a global sum with community pharmacy and then distributes this funding to through fees. This means that regardless of what level of fees Pharmacy2U claims,  the overall cost to the NHS will remain the same. This statement is likely to confuse the public, who understandably do not know the detail of community pharmacy funding arrangements and that there is no saving to the NHS if people use Pharmacy2U.

Meanwhile, advertising material for Echo states: “Help protect the NHS – Get your medicine delivered”.  It’s our view that there is no evidence that going to a pharmacy to collect medicines has a damaging effect on the NHS.  Neighbourhood community pharmacies are playing a hugely positive  role in maintaining health services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you see misleading advertising – by any provider of pharmacy services – please draw it to our attention by emailing independentsvoice@npa.co.uk

Some related media coverage: