Healthcare SaaS provider Charac has secured investment from Yorkshire-based private equity firm Traditum.

Charac says the funding will help it further enhance its online platform for independent pharmacies and accelerate its growth in the UK and internationally.

The investment – Charac’s fourth successful funding round – follows the launch last month of the government’s Pharmacy First scheme in England, which mandates that patients suffering from a range of ailments will be sent to local pharmacies in the first instance, with pharmacists allowed to prescribe medications that have typically been the preserve of GPs.

Charac’s app, which is integrated with the NHS, streamlines pharmacy operations onto a cloud-native platform specifically designed to relieve time pressure, increase efficiency and help drive the growth of independent pharmacies, as well as boost the take up of their services. 

Pharmacists can manage repeat prescriptions, access patient records, create bookings and conduct consultations all via the Charac app.

Charac has already signed up 800 pharmacies with 36,000 patients in the UK. This has been achieved through various strategic partnerships, including with leading PMR software provider, Positive Solutions and the National Pharmacy Association. The number of patients using the app is forecast to rise to 100,000 by early 2024 and Charac is projected to capture around 30% of the UK’s 12,000 pharmacies by 2026.

Charac has previously secured significant financial support from key industry players, including ASX-listed MedAdvisor last November, the National Pharmacy Association and pharmacy owners in September 2023 and the Royal Mail in 2022.

Globally, Charac’s deal with MedAvisor enabled it to expand its capabilities across Australia/New Zealand and the US, making its app available to a far broader group of pharmacies internationally.

Internationally the independent pharmacy sector is facing significant challenges, and no more so than the UK. Many pharmacies are unprofitable, with eight closing per week across England. According to The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), since 2015 there has been a net loss of 1,055 pharmacies, with this financial year alone seeing a loss of over 300 pharmacies. A recent report commissioned by the National Pharmacy Association warned that up to 3,000 pharmacies are at risk of closure by 2024.

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In the UK, apart from a falloff in Government funding, probably the most significant factor behind this backdrop is that the independent pharmacy sector is lagging far behind other areas of the economy with regard to digitialisation, a feature that is mirrored in other regions across the world. This leaves pharmacists unable to capitalise on the efficiencies that digitisation can deliver and not capable of delivering the broader range of revenue-enhancing services that can boost their profits.

“The investment from Traditum is an endorsement of our mission to transform independent pharmacies through digitising the sector,” said Santosh Sahu, founder and CEO of Charac. 

“Our goal is ultimately about providing better primary care for communities and enabling healthcare professionals to do so more effectively. With this backing we are positioned to expand our international reach as well as our capabilities to enhance the quality of care our customers can provide to patients.”

David Mitchell, CEO of Traditum, said: “Independent pharmacies are facing a real challenge. Charac’s technology will help to safeguard their future while at the same time helping them play a more active role in delivering services and relieving pressure on the NHS. 

“This investment is in line with Traditum’s strategy to invest in digital technology to enhance delivery of primary and secondary care for the benefit of the community and NHS.”

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