Pharmacy 2 U
The other way of electronically transmitting prescriptions. Be warned! (Chanin's Chat July '07)
We heard of a case where a GP in Cardiff asked a patient if they wished to have their prescription delivered, and when they said yes, the doctor just pressed a button on his terminal and the next day the patient received his medication through the post from Pharmacy2U in Leeds.
Thus by using his EMIS computer in his surgery, this doctor connected directly to the EMIS terminal at Pharmacy2U, so neatly side-stepping all the local community pharmacies. No need for ETP between those systems.
What's more, EMIS - that is the company that provides one of the best GP computer systems - owns just under 20% (19.99% to be exact) of Pharmacy2U?
If this took off, think how it could damage your business. Could this be the direction of scripts?
Most GPs are probably not even aware that the link between the EMIS and Pharmacy2U exists. The likelihood is that they think by asking the patient if they would like their script delivered, they are passing it to their local pharmacies.
Maybe it's worth keeping a look out for this sort of thing happening in your area and thinking how you can avoid it upsetting your business.
Pharmacy2U - A Real Threat (Chanin's Chat Nov '08)
Some time ago, we mentioned that there was an electronic link from the GP surgeries to Pharmacy2U and that could prove to be a problem. Well, it seems to be more imminent than we thought. I was reading the entrepreneur's magazine "Growing Business" and what should I find, but an article about the company and the fact that "the founders (of Pharmacy2U) found themselves on the brink of dramatic expansion in a market worth £10bn". (A copy of the article is available here).
In this article, the founders state that they were chosen by the government to "lead a two year NHS pilot project to develop an electronic prescription system to monitor what is being prescribed and dispensed".
They go on to say that at the moment they are connected to 250 surgeries but they are hoping to roll that out to the 6000 surgeries that they can link to directly, i.e. through the EMIS computer software.
As EMIS has a just below 20% stake in Pharmacy2U, you can see how the system will benefit both parties to the exclusion of all other community pharmacies. A GP simply has to ask a patient if they want their medicines delivered, and if they say yes, he will press a button on his EMIS computer and the script will be relayed automatically to Pharmacy2U.
If you want to avoid this happening in your area, you should sign your patients up to your collection service and warn your LPC and LAT of this danger that could wipe out the present community pharmacy network.
Pharmacy2U - Underhand Tactics (Chanin's Chat Nov '08)
Having just written the above article, we have been told of another very concerning development.
A contractor has been approached by a number of patients expressing concern that they have been told to change the way they get their medicines.
Apparently what happened was that Pharmacy2U has sponsored his customer's local surgeries mailing to their patients requesting that they attend their 'Flu Vaccine Clinic'.
As they sponsored the mail out, Pharmacy2U has been allowed to include a letter (which we have not seen) from them to the patients suggesting that they may want to get their medication delivered directly to them. This letter seems to have been worded in such a way that some patients think they have to do it.
Now it occurs to us that, if this has happened in one area, it has more than likely spread across the country as Pharmacy2U tries to make the contact with 6000 surgeries they were suggesting in the "Growing Business" article they intend to.
Find out if this is happening in your area. We think the best way to combat this is to bring it out in the open. Explain to the LAT the danger to local community pharmacies if this takes hold. Then where are the government's plans for the future of community pharmacy "Health Information Centres" going?
Probably more importantly, talk to your patients and explain your collection service (and delivery if necessary).