Pharmacy Pulse Report Q1 2021


Pharmacy sector consolidation is a pre-COVID trend that looks set to continue, as owner operators retire or otherwise exit the market and large groups increase their footprint. This is evidenced by the number of acquisition opportunities coming to the market in H1 2021 and by other developments such as the recent market entry of Australian discounter Chemist Warehouse. Meanwhile, according to media speculation, McKesson is considering the sale of its UK based Lloyds Pharmacy network.


In January 2021 it was announced that the Cara group of pharmacies received fresh investment and exited examinership, a development that protects jobs and the market position of the group.

Medicine funding

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the Irish government have agreed a six month extension to the drug supply agreement, with the recent bridging arrangement increasing access to 15 new drugs and providing €30 million to clear a ‘backlog’ of new medicines.


As of Saturday 3rd April, 932,234 vaccine doses had been administered in Ireland, meaning 13.3% of the population had received at least a first dose. The government aims to have a majority of the population vaccinated by the summer.


The recent shift to e-prescribing has been driven by the COVID crisis and the requirement for patients and health professionals to find new ways to interact. Developments such as Healthmail, the greater use of video conferencing and the online migration of consumers have created a reimagined trading landscape. Whether these trends persist post-pandemic remains to be seen, but in the short-term opportunities have emerged for nimble, tech focused operators.

Professional Trust

The Ipsos MRBI Veracity index for 2021 was released in March. Pharmacy was judged the most
trusted profession, with 96% of the public saying they trust their local pharmacist.

Read more of Q1 2021 in the full report which can be downloaded here.

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