National Pharmacy Association (NPA) leaders have delivered a giant invoice for the £108m they say is owed to the sector for dispensing at a loss over the last month.

And pharmacy owners can generate their own individual invoice using a new tool launched by the NPA, which indicates the funding shortfall for each pharmacy based on the number of items dispensed.

According to the NPA, pharmacies are under-funded by an average £1.20 per item, which ‘represents merely a restoration of funding, after inflation, to the levels of a decade ago’.

The total £108m invoice presented to the government is an an average monthly figure based on the loss to pharmacy incomes over the past decade and is intended ‘to accommodate for the underfunding of community pharmacies across England’, the NPA said.

‘Government funding no longer covers the costs of the nation’s medicines, leaving pharmacies to subsidise the NHS from their own pockets. This leave pharmacies running out of options to stay afloat and will have to close their doors permanently without a real terms funding increase,’ the NPA added.

NPA chief executive Paul Rees, said: 'The soaring costs of dispensing medicine coupled with declining real terms funding has led to community pharmacies in England having to subsidise the dispensing of drugs to the tune of £108m a month.

'Which other clinicians would be expected to pay the state in order to deliver NHS services? This is profoundly shocking and wrong.

'As a result of this perverse situation, the government now owes our pharmacies a massive £108m a month.'

And he called for 'a new deal for pharmacies which will reverse historical funding cuts and give the sector the respect it deserves'.

New analysis from the NPA has suggested that pharmacies are closing at a rate of 10 per week.

And from January to April this year, 177 pharmacies closed, compared to 116 in the same period last year, according to the NPA.

Sharing the figures in parliament yesterday, Conservative MP for St Ives Derek Thomas asked the prime minister if he would ‘do everything he can to ensure that funds are directed toward community pharmacy’.

In response, prime minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘I do care deeply about the future of our community pharmacies’.

He added that there were ‘over 10,500 community pharmacies across the country’  working ‘incredibly hard to serve their patients’, with ‘about 80% of people’ living within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy.

‘That is why we are backing them with Pharmacy First, with £645 million of extra funding,’ Mr Sunak said.

NPA chief executive Paul Rees suggested that the prime minister’s response ‘completely glosses over the financial crisis engulfing pharmacies which are closing at the rate of 10 a week’.

‘We need to support these amazing local services so we can stop the closures and allow them to continue supporting communities everywhere,’ he added.