ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

£300 million of NHS money wasted yearly on unused prescriptions

The rising number of UK patients opting to get their medication online and pharmacies turning to smart dispensing robots and AI are just some of the ways the 300-year-old pharmacy business model is being shaken up, according to a new report published today.

Patients will soon see a pharmacist before a doctor according the ‘The Future Pharmacy’ report, which predicts that the bricks-and-mortar pharmacy of the future will become the clinical first port-of-call for non-serious illnesses, with online pharmacies such as Pharmacy2U increasingly driving digital dispensing innovation.

‘The Future Pharmacy’ report predicts technological advances linking genetic information, electronic patient records, smart phone apps, data analytics and cloud storage will drive next generation treatments and help patients gain a greater control of their health. The paper suggests technology is at the heart of the UK’s healthcare revolution, with 25 per cent of people in the UK already saying they are likely to use an online pharmacy.

The paper also details the timeline of evolution of the UK pharmacy, including the launch of Pharmacy2U, the first online pharmacy in the UK, in 1999. The company was a founding partner to the NHS in developing the Electronic Prescription Service, which is used by 99.5 per cent of pharmacies across the country.

The NHS recently announced the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan for England’, which aims to “substantially expand the number of clinical pharmacists” allocating them £4.5 billion of funding. The plan envisages that community pharmacies will remain crucial for acute healthcare management, and that GP practices will come together to set up neighbourhood teams staffed with pharmacists.

According to the report over £300 million of NHS money is wasted every year by Brits not taking medicine. Research by Pharmacy2U found that nearly one in ten (9 per cent) have missed picking up a prescription by not going to the pharmacy on time.

Mark Livingstone, CEO of Pharmacy2U, comments: “Our facility in Leicester will be capable of dispensing 6.5 million items a month, with the help of giant vending machine-like robots that dispense medicine with extraordinary accuracy and speed. Technology enables us to do things much faster than a traditional pharmacy without compromising safety. Our vision is to change pharmacy for the best; to free up specialists’ time, provide the public with medicines safely and efficiently, while costing the NHS less and contributing to a healthier society. We have the technology and the drive to achieve this and the expertise and the passion to continue making a difference.”

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