Well Pharmacy

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Subsidiary undertaking
IndustryRetail, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, beauty
HeadquartersManchester, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Seb Hobbs, CEO
ProductsCommunity Pharmacy
Number of employees
Circa 7,000
ParentBestway Group
SubsidiariesBestway Medhub
Well Careplus

Well, formerly The Co-operative Pharmacy, is the largest independent pharmacy business and the third largest overall pharmacy chain after Boots UK and Lloyds Pharmacy in the United Kingdom. It is the largest pharmacy chain in Wales.

Following months of speculation, The Co-operative Group revealed in July 2014, that they had come to an agreement to divest the pharmacy business to the Bestway Group for £620 million. The sale was completed in October 2014 and Bestway were given a licence to continue using the Co-operative brand for 12 months. In 2015, Bestway began to rebrand the company as Well.

Other retail co-operatives in the United Kingdom, such as Midcounties Co-operative, continue to operate Co-op Pharmacy branded stores, which were not affected by the sale.


The Co-operative Pharmacy[edit]

Well Pharmacy Store

The Co-operative Pharmacy was previously the trading name of National Co-operative Chemists, part of Co-operative Group Healthcare based in Rochdale,[1] and Belfast Co-operative Chemists, a wholly owned subsidiary operating in Northern Ireland. Established in 1945, National Co-operative Chemists traded in areas without a regional society pharmacy, although some independent societies (such as The Midcounties Co-operative) also operated their own in-house chemists under The Co-operative Pharmacy brand after it was introduced in 2007.

In 2001, The Co-operative Pharmacy pioneered the use of Braille on the packaging of own label medicines and, in 2012, it became the first retail pharmacy chain in the UK to become carbon neutral.[2]

The Co-operative Doctor was an online diagnosis and treatment system.[3] In 2011, The Co-operative Pharmacy teamed up with The-Clinic.com to provide clinical and medical input. The-Clinic.com’s medical services were provided by Freedom Health, which is registered with the Healthcare Commission.[4]

In February 2014, after suffering a £2.5bn loss for 2013, The Co-operative Group announced that it was to start exploring options to sell their pharmacy business along with other businesses in their portfolio.

Bestway Group[edit]

The Co-operative Group agreed to divest the business to the Bestway Group for £620 million in July 2014.[5] The sale was completed in October 2014 and Bestway were given a licence to continue using the Co-operative brand for 12 months. On 10 February 2015 during an event held in Birmingham, it was announced that Well would become the new brand for the pharmacy business and that all 780 branches would have all reference to The Co-operative Pharmacy removed and replaced with Well by the end of October 2015.[6]


In 2018 it had 794 pharmacies across the UK and Northern Ireland.

It launched an online NHS prescription service in July 2018. By January 2019 25,184 patients had signed up.[7]


In late 2018, Well Pharmacy faced controversy after a data breach leaking the personal information of 24,000 employees. It reportedly launched a full investigation of the data breach, which occurred due to an operating error, resulting in the distribution of an email containing personal information to various locums on 11 December 2018.[8]


  1. ^ An industrial and provident society registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985, No. 12714R
  2. ^ Voinea, Anca (24 August 2014). "Dispensed: The Co-operative Pharmacy's rich and caring history". Co-operative News. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  3. ^ About the Clinic The Co-operative Pharmacy [1] (retrieved 25 August 2013)
  4. ^ "Pharmacy launches online health services". Co-operative News. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  5. ^ Ben Marlow (18 July 2014). "Bestway cash and carry empire snaps up Co-op high street pharmacies". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ Farey-Jones, Daniel (10 February 2015). "Co-operative Pharmacy to become Well in 780-store rebrand". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  7. ^ "More than 25,000 patients sign up to Well's online prescription service in six months". Pharmaceutical Journal. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  8. ^ Carolyn Wickware (20 December 2018). "Well Pharmacy apologises after leaking personal information in data breach". Pharmaceutical Journal. Retrieved 29 December 2018.

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