Co-op Group returns to pharmacy market with purchase of prescriptions app, reports claim

Sky News says the retailer has paid less than £10m for the NHS-approved Dimec platform

The Co-op Group is returning to the pharmacy business with the purchase of Dimec, an NHS approved digital prescriptions app, it has been reported.

The Group sold its pharmacy chain four years ago as part of its recovery from its financial crisis, but at this year’s AGM in May, chief executive Steve Murrells said the business was looking at new online ventures, including in health, without the capital outlay for bricks-and-mortar sites.

“We’ve not entered new markets since 2006,” he told the meeting. “It’s time to look at that.”

And last month, Co-op News reported the Group was looking for pharmacy dispensers for positions based at the Lea Green distribution depot in St Helens, Merseyside, who will “prepare prescriptions to be sent out to customers”.

 This week, Sky News reported that the Group has reached a deal for Dimec, which allows customers and pharmacists to manage repeat prescriptions. It said the agreement would be announced alongside the Group’s half-year results on Friday.

Sky said a source had valued the acquisition at less than £10m – much less than the £620m the Group received when it sold its previous pharmacy arm to   Bestway Group.

Dimec was founded by pharmacists Andrew Bailey and Chris Turner in 2013, and has relationships with all 12,000 pharmacies in England. It allows customers to securely sync their medicines history with their GP records, order their NHS repeat prescriptions 24/7, and receive real-time notifications on the status of their requests.

The News has contacted the Group asking for a comment.

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