The Dispensing Doctors Association has fought back against a campaign it claims will ‘blacken the name’ of dispensing doctors, saying no wrong-doing has been proven.
Pharmacy Voice – a lobby group for the three largest community pharmacy associations – says they have seen an ‘upsurge’ in allegations that some GPs have used a privileged position to direct scripts or ‘demand equity’ in existing pharmacies.
Yet they say almost half of PCTs do not collect information on whether GPs have a financial interest in a pharmacy making them unaware of potential conflicts of interest.
DDA chief executive Dr David Baker said they would take any evidence of wrongdoing seriously and that GPs who have a financial interest in a pharmacy need to declare that to their patients under GMC rules.
He said: ‘But when it comes to whether PCTs should keep a record of GPs interests, you could reduce that to the absurd and say anyone who had shares in Boots should declare it.’
Dr Baker said the DDA were very keen to work with pharmacy, and not against them, but what really matters is that pharmacies run by dispensing doctors work very well for patients.
He said: ‘Seen in its worst light, this is trying to blacken the name of GP owners of pharmacies by association when there’s not necessarily any wrongdoing.’
Pharmacy Voice said of 97 PCTs who responded, 42 did not collect information on financial interests GPs had in pharmacies.
Pharmacy voice chief executive Rob Darracott, said: ‘There have been a number of disturbing allegations about the behaviour of some GPs with a business interest in a pharmacy.
He said: ‘A mutually respectful relationship between general practice and community pharmacy is important to patient care, so behaviours that undermine trust are deeply troubling.
He added: ‘If PCTs are unaware of potential conflicts of interest, how can we have confidence that there is proper oversight of this matter by the NHS?’