AN angry pharmacy owner fears for the future of his business after a home delivery prescription service was awarded to a rival.

Mukesh Ruparel, who has run the Kinton Pharmacy in Great Missenden High Street for the last 12 years, says it is “unethical” for medicines to be distributed from another pharmacy in High Wycombe.

He said The Practice, which has introduced the service, did not consult him over the proposals – and it had led to concerned customers asking him if the store was closing.

The Practice runs the Prospect House surgery in Great Missenden and many patients use the Kinton Pharmacy for repeat prescriptions.

Mr Ruparel said: “Patients of The Practice are being given these leaflets and told to sign up to a prescription management service.

“We do it for the surgery anyway and have done for over 20 years.

“Ninety per cent of the pharmacy's business comes from repeat prescriptions and they are taking that from us. It's a core business for any pharmacy. There's a lot of business they could take off us.

“They are making it seem like they are offering a completely new service but they don't give the opportunity to chose a local surgery. It doesn't give them an option which, ethically, they should do.

“They never approached us. We asked them were they unhappy with the service from us and they said no.”

Concerned patients and customers started a petition in protest at the move – and within four days, 12 pages of signatures had been collected.

Mr Ruparel, who runs the pharmacy with son Pritesh, said: “We are grateful and indebted to the people coming in. The response has been fantastic. They are annoyed these things are happening. They understand what they stand to lose: a service in the community.

“They initiated a petition, they brought it in themselves.”

Mr Ruparel was supported by Ehasnul Haq, the owner of the AQSA pharmacy in London Road, High Wycombe, who also says his business will be affected.

He said some regular patients had stopped coming in to his store.

Mr Haq said: “They are running it for profit – money is more important than the patients. It's against the doctors' code of ethics.

“It's very hard already for them to survive. This is going to make it even harder. A number of pharmacies have lodged complaints to the PCT but the damage is done.”

Glenys Talbot, Manager of the Pharmacy Project for the Practice, said Lansdales Pharmacy in High Wycombe – which will provide the prescription service – had been selected as it had a “proven track record of providing a full prescription management service” and had “online capability”.

She said: “We considered many pharmacies from small local ones to large nationwide chains.

“Patients are under no obligation to sign-up and it remains the patient’s choice as to which pharmacy they use.

“The service is being piloted at our two other local surgeries in High Wycombe as well as The Practice Prospect House in Great Missenden. We felt it was beneficial to offer the same opportunity to all our patients regardless of their location.

“We have first hand experience of the difficulty people registered at The Practice Prospect House can have if they live outside the village and don’t drive – the elderly and the housebound. A home delivery service greatly helps them – and up until now was not available. This is our experience elsewhere as well.

“The village community in Great Missenden is of utmost importance to us as their local surgery and our intention is not to jeopardise the viability of any of the businesses there. We are keen however to provide our patients with the highest standard of care and support, and in doing so want to offer wide choice and easy access to a range of different services.”