According to NHS figures, around half of all NHS trusts have outsourced their pharmacy services to save tax under a VAT loophole.
Under the current tax law, NHS Trusts have to pay VAT on their medicines. However, this can be avoided for Trusts’ outpatient pharmacies by “enter[ing] into a contract with a third-party pharmacy company” – with these “qualifying goods” being exempt from VAT.
Unions are concerned about the working conditions this could impose on pharmacists. Helga Pile, deputy head of health at Unison, said: “The reality is that staff working for these companies will often be earning significantly less than colleagues who are employed directly by the NHS”
Full story on Pharmaceutical Journal, 7 January 2020.