Posted on July 18, 2018 by staff

Pharmacy2U told to change ‘misleading adverts’


Pharmacy2U has been told to scrap adverts featuring ‘unrealistic’ claims about saving the NHS £300 million.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 24 complaints from the public and one from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in relation to two TV adverts and one tweet which were seen late last year.

In the adverts and tweet, Pharmacy2U claimed that patients managing their repeat prescriptions online could save the NHS “over £300m a year on prescription costs”.

The complainants challenged whether the claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

The company told the advertising watchdog that it had substantiated this claim to the NHS, using publicly available information from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), which projected an annual saving if all pharmacies charged the NHS the same rate as Pharmacy2U.

The company also provided an updated version of that calculation dated October 2017 in support of the savings claim in the ad.

But following an investigation, the complaints were upheld and Pharmacy2U was told that the adverts should not appear again in their current form.

“Although we recognised that the UK healthcare sector was undergoing change and that online repeat prescription services had the capacity to save the NHS money, we considered that Pharmacy2U’s calculation, based on the annual savings if all pharmacies were paid the same rate as Pharmacy2U, was not currently a realistic or likely scenario,” the ASA said in a statement.

The watchdog concluded: “We told Pharmacy2U to ensure that they held adequate substantiation for claims relating to savings generated for the NHS if people switched from paper repeat prescriptions to online repeat prescription services such as theirs.”