NPA reaches 100 years milestone

15 Apr 2021

One hundred years ago this week, the National Pharmacy Association held its first board meeting at the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society in Euston Road, London.

To mark the NPA’s centenary, MPs have offered their congratulations in the form of a parliamentary Early Day Motion.

A celebratory webinar, due to take place on Wednesday evening, was postponed in light of the official week-long period of mourning for the death of Prince Philip. That event will instead take place on Wednesday 28 April (registration is at

The parliamentary motion, tabled by Scottish Nationalist MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, and co-signed by MPs from parties across the House of Commons, reads:

That this House congratulates the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) as it celebrates 100 years of serving community pharmacies in the UK; notes that the NPA has helped its members through enormous change, including the formation of the NHS in 1948, the overhaul of medicines regulations in 1968, the massive expansion in the range of medicines available to patients and the establishment of new roles in public health, urgent care and managing long term conditions; recognises the vital contribution of pharmacies today, especially in the light of their work during the covid-19 pandemic; and looks forward to pharmacies playing an important role in the health, wellbeing and daily life of our communities in the years to come.

The first board meeting in 1921 saw chairman John Deakin address the newly elected Executive Committee and outline the course that the new organisation (then called the Retail Pharmacists’ Union) should pursue.

Current chair, Andrew Lane, said: “The NPA has grown since 1921 to become the leading voice of independent community pharmacies across the UK. It is wonderful that politicians across the House of Commons have recognised the significance of our centenary and the contribution of our members over these 100 years.”

Today the association represents over 6000 pharmacies in the UK, the vast majority of independents.

Summary timeline:

1921: The Retail Pharmacists’ Union holds its first board meeting
1929: The inaugural Pharmacy Week, aiming to enhance understanding of the role of the pharmacist and their qualifications.
1945: End of World War II. Business Purchase & Guarantee Fund formed to keep pharmacies in private hands
1978: NPA moved to new headquarters at Mallinson House in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Today, staff also operate from home offices in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
1982: NPA launches the first nationwide ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ advertising campaign
2016: NPA campaigns against cuts to community pharmacy funding – and takes the UK’s largest ever health-related petition to 10 Downing Street
2020: The coronavirus pandemic sees pharmacies on the frontline of efforts to protect the population from illness. Health Secretary Matt Hancock addresses NPA members at the association’s annual conference.