Juno Health acquires the Avicenna Pharmacy Group

The Charles Russell Speechlys Pharmacy Transactions Team has advised the Juno Health pharmacy group on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Avicenna Holdings Ltd, which comprises of 21 pharmacies, as well as Avicenna's buying group operations serving more than 1,000 pharmacies.

The transaction achieved final completion on 19 September 2019. With this purchase, Juno Health will further establish its position as one of the largest pharmacy chains in the Northeast of England.

Juno Health Chairman Richard Smith said: "Avicenna is a well-established business delivering clear benefits to its members. It is one of the most recognisable brands among independent pharmacists and extremely well respected."

Juno Health Chief Commercial Officer said "Many thanks to the team at Charles Russell Speechlys, whose commercially astute advice has been instrumental in supporting us to deliver our acquisition strategy over the past few years."

Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, Tim Jenkins commented: "We were delighted to advise Juno Health on this latest acquisition. This was a complex project and involved specialist input not just from our dedicated Pharmacy Transactions team and Corporate Group but also specialists in our Real Estate, Employment, Pensions, Commercial and Tax teams. We wish the Juno team well as they look ahead to continue building on Avicenna's success and platform of services to its members."

2020 Charles Russell Speechlys Pharmacy Conference

Our annual Pharmacy Law Conference will take place on Thursday, 26th March 2020 at the Wellcome Collection, close to London Euston and London Kings Cross/St Pancras stations. We are still working on the event programme, but are likely to cover the following topics:

  • Regulatory Update
  • Market Entry Update
  • NHS England Inspections, Investigations and Enforcement Proceedings
  • Legal Issues for Private Services
  • Patient data and patient confidentiality

Save the date emails will be sent out in January 2020.

NHS Resolution annual report

NHS Resolution, which determines NHS Market Entry appeals in England, has recently published its annual report. Here are some of the headlines:

  • The number of appeals determined has remained steady over the last year, with 135 appeals determined compared to 140 the previous year.
  • Of the 72 new contract applications submitted, only 13 were offering to meet a need identified in the PNA, and none of those were granted. The remainder of new contract appeals were for unforeseen benefits applications, a number of which were granted.
  • The number of distance selling appeals has more than halved since the previous year, with most applications eventually being granted.
  • About half of all relocation applications were granted on appeal.

Since the report was published, NHS Resolution has been busy determining Quality Payment Scheme appeals, but it does not look like any of those appeals have been successful.

Community Pharmacy Consultation Service

From October 2019, NHS pharmacies in England have been eligible to sign up to the CPCS. Pharmacies that meet the required standards (including having a consultation room - from next April, the pharmacy's consultation room must contain a networked computer to allow contemporaneous records to be maintained) register their willingness to provide the service through an online platform.

Once they are registered, referrals will be made via NHS 111 (pharmacists are not allowed to advertise or promote the service directly) and pharmacists will be paid £14 for each completed consultation. Pharmacists must not use a referral to try to change a patient's EPS nomination. At the moment, referrals will relate to one of two issues:

  • The emergency supply of medicines.
    • Where an emergency supply is requested and having discussed this with the patient over the phone, the pharmacist must usually check the Summary Care Record.
    • Certain records need to be kept and advice given to the patient.
    • An emergency supply must be made in accordance with the Human Medicines Regulations in the same way as non-CPCS emergency supplies are made at the moment.
  • Referrals for low acuity/minor ailments
    • Consultations will usually be face-to-face.
    • The pharmacist must be on the look-out for "red flags" which may indicate a more serious condition. This is an area of risk for pharmacists, because a pharmacist who fails to spot a red flag risks a claim for compensation or regulatory investigation.
    • Where appropriate and with consent, the pharmacist should consult the patient's Summary Care Record.
    • If the patient cannot be treated or counselled in the pharmacy, he/she will be referred to another provider such as A&E or an Out of Hours GP Service.
    • Appropriate records must be maintained.

After the first month of the new service, it has been reported that most pharmacies have seen only a small number of referrals. Full information about the new service is available here - https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/advanced-service-specification-nhs-pharmacist-consultation-service.pdf.

It's a deal

Our Pharmacy Transaction team has continued to see high levels of market activity with a number of transactions in progress. Transactions concluded since our last deals update include:

  • Acquisition of Avicenna Holdings Ltd (including membership services operations and 21 pharmacies) by Transfer Scheme of Arrangement for Juno Health
  • Sale of Shrewsbury based 3 branch operator Lunts Pharmacies Ltd by JK Lunt Ltd to MSN Pharm Ltd
  • Sale of Cambridgeshire based health-centre pharmacy operator Papworth Healthcare Ltd to Kushal Patel (brokered by Christie & co)
  • Purchase by local contractor of Essex based pharmacy company from Care Pharma (Romford) Ltd (brokered by Christie & co)
  • Sale by Messrs Evans and Davies of Carmarthenshire based pharmacy company to Amman Health Care Limited (brokered by Hutchings Consultants)
  • Sale for NSK Ltd of London based pharmacy company Glorious Limited to Osbon Medicals Ltd (brokered by Modi Plus)
  • Sale of Grimsby based Cottingham (Waltham) Ltd to Pharma Waltham Ltd (brokered by Hutchings Consultants)

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