The merger between online pharmacy companies Pharmacy2U and ChemistDirect.co.uk creates a business with a 1.5 million customer base, addressing the growing demand for digital pharmacies.
The chief executive of the new combined business will be ChemistDirect.co.uk CEO Mark Livingstone, who has a strong track record in innovative internet-based businesses including LoveFilm and Graze.com.
Founder and superintendent pharmacist of Pharmacy2U, Daniel Lee, pioneered internet pharmacy in 1999. He will take on the role of chief operating officer in the new entity.
“Online pharmacy has now come of age, with 80 per cent of GP surgeries now using the NHS electronic prescription service and patients keen to shop online for health and wellbeing products,” Daniel Lee said.
“Increasing numbers of patients are also seeking the support of online doctor services. This merger means that we are in an unrivalled position to respond to the growing demand for these innovative services.”
The merger follows the opening of Pharmacy2U’s brand new £3.5 million dispensing hub in Leeds – the first of its kind in the UK – earlier in 2016. The facility is capable of dispensing one million prescription items a month.
The new business will have a broad consumer offer, including a fully managed online home delivery prescription service for NHS patients, including clinical advice from pharmacists – a growing area of opportunity under the England-wide electronic prescription service. It will also include online doctor consultation services for a range of common conditions in areas including women’s health, men’s health, travel health precautions and skin conditions. The new business will also sell over 6,000 health and wellbeing retail products.
BGF (Business Growth Fund) is investing £10 million in this deal to enable the new management team to deliver online pharmacy and GP consultation services to millions more patients.
BGF has up to £2.5 billion to invest in small and mid-sized companies across Britain. Since 2011, it has backed more than 125 businesses with over £850 million of long-term capital. This deal is BGF’s second significant investment since the EU referendum.
For BGF’s Richard Taylor, this is a positive sign for the UK economy. “No one knows the outcome of the next few weeks, but now is not the time for business to start putting the brakes on,” he said. “Now is the time to keep investing, keep partnering and keep innovating – and that is something we are wholeheartedly committed to doing.”