Are multi-user warehouse dispensing hubs the future of pharmacy?

News came out last week that the U.K. government will soon allow community pharmacies to ‘outsource’ their dispensing services to large warehouse-style ‘hub’ pharmacies.

New legislation has been introduced to British parliament that would allow pharmaceutical wholesalers to develop “new large-scale hub facilities” and for small local-area pharmacies to tap into the economies of scale offered by a multi-user dispensing centre. The new model would initially only apply to low-risk prescription medication.

It’s a similar model to that employed in the compounded medicine sector by National Custom Compounding (NCC), here in Australia.

The expense of setting up compounding pharmacy facilities is too prohibitive for most community pharmacies in Australia so NCC acts as a ‘dispending hub’ for compounded medicine prescriptions on behalf of community pharmacies Australia-wide.

Matthew Bellgrove, owner and head pharmacist at NCC spent several years working with Queensland Health to get his partner pharmacy program up and running. Over 200 pharmacies now enjoy the ease and low-cost of this novel dispensing service with more joining every week.

In its impact assessment of the new Bill the U.K. government said, “The benefits of hub-and-spoke [dispensing] are expected to include reduced staff time on dispensing at the spoke pharmacy (freeing up time to provide other services), potential for reduced rates of dispensing errors and potential for a calmer working environment at the spoke pharmacy,”

And they might be right. NCC’s current partner pharmacies report that they enjoy similar benefits through the compounded medicine program here in Australia.

For more information on NCC’s Compounded Medicine Partner Pharmacy program contact Matthew on 1300 731 755, [email protected], or download an application form from the website.


 Citation: The Pharmaceutical JournalDOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20207714