Community Pharmacy has been through some extremely challenging times.

Not only have contractors and their teams managed to maintain service delivery levels through the difficulties of operating through a pandemic, but they have also become the first line in healthcare for millions of patients across the country as we have seen accessibility to core NHS services reduced.

Pharmacies have also felt the additional burden of significant financial challenges, some due to the pandemic itself but more fundamentally from a woefully inadequate funding package from the Dept of Health which in real terms is a funding reduction.

In addition to this, over the last 10yrs contractors and their teams have seen attrition of patients to a number of new direct to consumer pharmacy businesses and digital prescription management platforms.  These relatively new entrants (let’s face it, change in pharmacy is not at the same pace as we see in other industries, rightly or wrongly) have invested heavily in advertising the convenience of home ordering and delivery and have seen significant growth through “normal times” with this growth going exponential during the current pandemic and the stay-at-home reality of life in lockdown.

Independent community pharmacies are most at risk from this competitive threat due to the fragmented nature of the sector and the prohibitive costs in developing technology to compete against several Corporate and Private Equity backed digital pharmacy businesses.

This is where a new digital start up comes into play, Charac.

Charac is a digital platform focussed on supporting all independent community pharmacies to digitise their business.  Their focus is on providing patients with a simple prescription management app which allows a pharmacy’s patient the ability of ordering their prescription and then following the “order” flow through the prescribed – dispensed – delivered process. Tailored notifications and concordance reminders also form part of the platform with full integration with GP and Pharmacy systems.

In addition, Charac enables pharmacies to manage all their NHS and Private Services through its consultations appointments booking system which can be tailored to the individual needs of each pharmacy customer. It also supports the completion of clinical administration online as well as the functionality to conduct remote video consultations.

I am delighted to have been asked to join the board at Charac as a Non-Executive Director and shareholder, to support them in this vision for digitising community pharmacy and I am excited to be working with a team with a longstanding track record of success in developing digital solutions to complex problems in fragmented industries.

As the founder of 2 of the fastest growth independent community pharmacy businesses in the UK, I am excited to be part of a business lead by a team with an absolute focus on providing a solution for community pharmacies that can put them on an equal footing with larger digital players who are driving hard to take business away from the very pharmacies that are the backbone of our communities.

If you would like to learn more about Charac and how your pharmacy might benefit, please feel free to message me.

Stay safe everyone and I look forward to updating on progress on this exciting journey.