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Seb James joins pharmacy leaders in appeal to public to help them maintain vital supplies and services

17 March 2020
News Healthcare

UK pharmacy leaders have issued an open letter to customers, asking them to act in the interests of the whole community by helping pharmacies maintain vital services including medicines supply, in the light of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The letter highlights that pharmacies across the United Kingdom are working hard to provide their regular services, including the safe supply of medicines, while also meeting significantly increased demand for advice on preventing coronavirus.

It asks patients, customers and the wider public to follow a number of guidelines:

  • Act responsibly by not entering a pharmacy if you have symptoms of infection, such as a cough or fever.
  • Please ask friends or family who are symptom-free to collect essential medicines for you.
  • Only buy the medicines and supplies that you need right now to treat you and your family.
  • Follow any instructions from our pharmacists and pharmacy teams.
  • Treat our pharmacy teams in the way that you would wish to be treated yourself.
  • Keep up to date with the latest online advice from the NHS.

National Pharmacy Association Chief Executive, Mark Lyonette, said:

“Pharmacies provide important services and absorb pressure that would otherwise fall on other parts of the health care system.  We are asking the public to help us to continue to do our vital work on the NHS frontline.  If we act together in our communities, we can all do our bit to limit the impact that this virus has on the nation’s health.”

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Company Chemists Association, which represents large community pharmacy operators, said:

“We understand that people want to feel prepared given the uncertainty that coronavirus is creating. However, it’s important that everyone plays their part in reducing the spread of this virus and helping us to maintain the supply of medicines for all.”

Commenting on the letter, Seb James, Managing Director Boots UK said, “With 90% of the UK living within a 10 minute drive of a Boots store, our Pharmacy and store teams are at the frontline of providing health care in what are unprecedented times.  We want to help our customers continue to get their essential medicines. We ask our customers to speak to our teams for ways they can proactively manage their prescriptions if they are in self isolation; and to only buy the medicines they need now so we can make sure as many people as possible can access the products they need.”


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024