Fresh finance from the National Pharmacy Association and pharmacy owners follows a £1m investment from Royal Mail and discussions are on-going with leading VC firms for further funding
Over 400 pharmacies have already signed up to Charac's innovative app with some 2,000 pharmacies projected to be using the app by next year
LONDON, Sept. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Charac, an NHS-integrated pharmacy app designed to lessen independent community pharmacies' operational burdens and help them deliver on the Government's Pharmacy First approach has raised some £1.2 million in debt and equity financing jointly from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and pharmacy owners, bringing total funding to date to £2.5 million.
With almost two pharmacies a week closing over the past two years the pharmacy sector is close to a state of crisis. 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.
This comes at a time when pharmacies will soon be under further pressure because of the Government's planned Pharmacy First approach. Under the new approach, patients suffering various ailments, such as sore throats or shingles, will be sent to local pharmacies first instead of GPs.
"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", says Charac founder Santosh Sahu. "So many of Britain's pharmacies are just not in the position they need to be to pick up the extra scope."
Charac's innovative approach to patient engagement and its focus on the digitalisation of the sector as a key initiative to improve its prospects is increasingly being welcomed by a growing number of pharmacies. Currently there are around 25,000 patients using Charac's platform and that's projected to rise to 100,000 by the end of its financial year (March 2024).
NPA, the trade association for 80% of independent pharmacies across the UK says the funding injection provides Charac's with the financing to further enhance its app and the services it can offer. In 2022, the NPA agreed to a long-term partnership with Charac to accelerate the digital transition of independent community pharmacies.