Good evening and welcome to another episode of Dragons’ Den, the programme where entrepreneurs with great business ideas pitch to our four wealthy investors – the so-called ‘dragons’.
Tonight the dragons are an investment bank, NHS England, a Public Health department and finally a clinical commissioning group (CCG). First up this evening is pharmacist Mr Nitesh Shah. Nitesh, this is your chance to see if any of these four will invest in your idea.
Good evening dragons, my name is Nitesh and I'd like to propose a business with great potential – a community pharmacy. This is somewhere patients would come to collect prescribed medication, receive health services, and buy products over the counter for self-care. This would be funded by an irregular, fluctuating buying margin and variable fees paid two months in arrears, with any significant profit clawed back by the government.
“How would you appeal to people who can't or won't visit your pharmacy?”
We would provide a free delivery service.
“What about patients who have mild cognitive impairment and struggle to comprehend their drug regimen?”
We would deblister all their drugs and repack them into expensive non-reusable trays. As well as being provided free for patients covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, it would be free to anyone who can't be bothered to help their partner or use a reminder chart themselves.
Also free of charge for care agencies who want to save the cost of properly trained staff, beyond teaching them the time and day of the week.
OK dragons – you’ve heard the pitch by Nitesh. How do you respond?
“Speaking as a bank, I'm concerned about your cash flow, because you can't predict your payment from one month to the next. I'm in for now, because you generate a load of cash, but I'll probably pull out when you really need financial support.”
“As NHS England, I'm disinvesting in community pharmacy so I'd normally be out, but I haven't got a cheaper distribution model yet. Therefore, I'll offer you a 20% reduction on your current global sum in return for future uncertainty.”
“Public Health here, and I really love your business model. It's accessible, approachable, and offers me better performance for less cost than any other healthcare provider. But I've got no money, so I need you to provide your health services for free.”
“I'm the CCG dragon and I’m tempted to offer a minor ailment and emergency supply scheme in exchange for branded generics. Unfortunately, NHS England has got there before me and ruled that out. But I’m still in for branded generics.”
Ok, thank you Nitesh. And finally, we have Pharma Profiteer, whose proposal to the dragons is to buy up an old orphan branded drug and relicense it as a generic at 10 times the original cost. Dragons?
“At last – a simple, profitable, easily understood business model. I think we're all in!”