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‘Deliveroo-style’ pharmacy smashes crowdfunding target in one day

Online pharmacy Phlo hit its crowdfunding target of £1.65 million within a day of launching its campaign, its CEO and founder Nadeem Sarwar has told C+D.

The on-demand pharmacy, which launched its “Deliveroo-style” service in London between October and November last year, is planning to expand in other major UK cities, Mr Sarwar told C+D yesterday (October 15).

On Monday (October 12), Phlo launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £1.65m to fund its expansion plans. As of today (October 16), it has raised £1.76m.

Phlo is on track to launch is on-demand service in Birmingham by the end of the year or early in 2021, Mr Sarwar said. The launch of another site in Manchester will follow, but the company hopes to roll out its service across the UK based on patient demand.

On-demand service

Phlo is not “a traditional distance-selling pharmacy”, Mr Sarwar said. The company also has a mail-order business through which it serves around 4,000 patients "from Orkney to Jersey", he said.

In London, Phlo can deliver medicines on-demand to patients on the same day, in as little as two hours, Mr Sarwar said. “We deliver from 8am to 10pm but soon it will be 24 hours a day,” he added.

“We created a system that is as easy as Deliveroo to use”, as part of which patients can track the progress of their order “all the way through the door”, Mr Sarwar said.

Patients who download the app and register to use Phlo can see in real time whether the medicine is in stock, before placing the order. The app also allows them to pick a preferred delivery time, Mr Sarwar said.

At present, the service has been set up to work with Phlo pharmacies, but Mr Sarwar said that in the future, Phlo could look to offer its “technology to other pharmacies, [although] we haven’t made that decision yet”.

In April, Phlo entered a partnership with Babylon Health. As part of this agreement, Phlo is the only online pharmacy that Babylon patients can select for home deliveries. Other pharmacy choices are available for patients who wish to collect their medicines in person, Mr Sarwar added.

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