028 9065 6576

History of the UCA

For over a century the UCA has worked closely with its membership to keep them up to date with matters in an ever-changing professional and business world.


The UCA originates from 1901 when it was known as “The Ulster Drug Trade Association”.

In 1901, the organisation’s main aim was:

“to take all steps necessary to protect and develop the interests of the trade and to promote friendship and confidence in the relationship of members with one another and with trade connections."

This remains the same, over a century later.


The Association amalgamated with the North Irish Pharmacists Association became the Ulster Chemists' Association.


The National Health Service started on 5 July 1948 and all pharmacies were invited to take up NHS contract. Members of the UCA Executive Committee were instrumental in forming the Local Pharmaceutical Committee. The LPC exists today as CPNI and their remit remains, as contract negotiators for community pharmacy business owners.  The UCA continues to offer advice and support to pharmacies across Northern Ireland.

For more detail on what is offered to pharmacies in Northern Ireland, via UCA Membership, please see the Work of the UCA section.

View an interactive timeline of NHS reform >

Introducing the Health Service – a video:


UCA begins the development of a social enterprise model which can deliver integrated services to the community via pharmacy and partners in the community & voluntary sectors. Formed in 2014, Primary care and Community Together (PACT) partners include Community Pharmacy, Ulster University, GP Federations (Down), the Community & Voluntary Sector, Fold Housing, Carers NI and Oasis.


Ulster Chemists' Association's strategy for 2015-18 launches a new Pharmacist Membership. UCA will now provide representation and support for both contractors and employed pharmacists in Northern Ireland. UCA President Cliff McElhinney said "In the current pharmacy environment, It is vital that all those contributing to the success of pharmacy in the community can have a voice and their views represented by one body. UCA has always supported the whole pharmacy team so we welcome the formal opportunity for pharmacists to be come members of the UCA."


Ulster Chemists' Association merged with Community Pharmacy NI in May 2019 to become UCA-NI Ltd. Community Pharmacy NI is the negotiating body for community pharmacy contractors and there is a natural affinity between both organisations. The agreement envisioned a three year transitional period to establish the role of UCA-NI Ltd in supporting all community and primary care pharmacists.


UCA-NI Ltd is working to support community and primary care pharmacists during the Covid-19 pandemic.


All enquiries should be directed to:

Adrienne Clugston

Operations Manager



UCA Office

5 Annadale Avenue

Tel:  028 9065 6576


Office Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday 9:00am -5:00pm