Pharmacy app receives £1.2m cash boost from sector owners
A patient relationship platform that claims to lessen the operational burdens of independent pharmacies has raised £1.2 million in debt and equity financing from the UK’s National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and from pharmacy owners.
This brings the total funds raised by Charac, which was founded by diabetic entrepreneur Santosh Sahu to £2.5 million.
The NHS-integrated app claims to allow pharmacists to manage repeat prescriptions, access patient records, create bookings and conduct consultations, relieving time pressure, increasing efficiency and enabling the growth of community pharmacies.
The cash injection by the NPA may also help alleviate the extra challenges the industry faces following the introduction of the Government’s ‘Pharmacy First’ approach which will see some patient ailments (such as sore throats or shingles) treated by pharmacists rather than GPs.
Pharmacists will also soon be given scope to prescribe medications, including antibiotics, for select conditions that have typically been the preserve of doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.
“Longer-term this is good news, but right now many pharmacies are focusing more on survival and will struggle to fulfil the new expanded role planned for them by the government,” Sahu explained.
With ongoing pharmacy closures across the UK, there are now only 11,026 community pharmacies in England, according to data from the NHS Business Services Authority – the lowest number since 2015.
Rising operational costs, staff shortages and reduced government financial support have all been blamed.
“So many of Britain’s pharmacies are just not in the position they need to be to pick up the extra scope. We intend to help significantly improve the health of community pharmacies and enable them to play the larger role that is expected of them,” Sahu added.
By increasing community pharmacies’ online capabilities, the founder- who has worked in banking, retail and last mile delivery logistics – said that through his app the start up is determined to boost efficiency and increase the take up of services that pharmacies provide, while also making it easier for pharmacies to more effectively supply them.
Commenting on the investment Simon Tebbutt, director of membership at the NPA said: “Our aim is to help independents become more than a match for the national pharmacy chains in terms of their digital interface with patients.”
“Together, NPA, pharmacy owners and Charac will ensure that independent pharmacies can meet modern consumer expectations and adapt to the ever-evolving environment.”
According to Charac, 400 pharmacies have signed onto the app and that is forecast to rise to 2,000 in 2024. It adds there are around 25,000 patients using its platform and that’s projected to rise to 100,000 by the end of March next year.
Other burgeoning pharmacy apps include Vietnam-based Medigo, which has grown to 500,000 active users by providing 24/7 one-demand prescription delivery services and earlier this year received $2m to grow its telehealth ecosystem.
Another Southeast Asian based app backed by Johnson&Johnson, SwipeRx, claims to have transformed and digitised region’s fragmented pharmacy industry, becoming a one-stop platform for pharmacists to perform all their daily tasks.
To read more on healthtech click here
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter