* Alitam Press Release

More efficient by far

By | * Alitam Press Release

An insight into the working practices of Philip Dawes.

Under the expert guidance of Philip Dawes, his 4 Devon pharmacies have established a reputation for delivering accessible person-centred professional services; customers provide consistently positive feedback about the care they receive. “Philip achieves the holy grail of excellent customer support, along with quick turnaround times,” says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo. “He understands the need to use business efficiencies and technology in order to enhance this offering. And he’s a passionate advocate for the role of the community pharmacist. He’s a fantastic fit for Alitam, it’s a meeting of minds.”

A service that goes beyond

Philip has 35 years of experience as a pharmacist under his belt, 8 years of which were spent managing 26 pharmacies for the National Co-operative Chemists. He is well placed to know what works. “One key factor is ease of access,” he explains. “Our flagship health centre store, Tavyside Pharmacy, is open 7 days a week, with closing times later than any other pharmacy in Tavistock. Although we fulfil the highest number of prescriptions in the area, we didn’t get the queues you often see in pharmacies; so during the pandemic our customers felt a lot safer visiting the pharmacy.” Philip is also about to install a Medpoint 24-hour prescription locker machine to offer round-the-clock accessibility for prescription collection, which will further reduce waiting times in the pharmacy and enable the team to focus on delivering services.

He continues, “The cornerstone of our business is the level of support we offer each and every customer. One example of this is our New Medicine Service. It’s an NHS initiative but we take it very seriously indeed. Starting a new course of treatment, often following a new diagnosis, is a highly important time for our customers – so we offer wraparound care. We counsel them on side effects and usage guidelines, then we follow up 7 days later. If customers are experiencing difficulties we consult directly with their GP and can quickly make any adjustments to the treatment protocol.”

Furthermore, Philip maximises his connection with the health centre. “Naturally, as part of a health centre, we enjoy close links with the GPs. However, again, we take this to the next level. We use Microsoft Teams to enable speedy communication between our pharmacy team and all the GPs and support staff. So, we can action urgent prescriptions, raise feedback on patients’ concerns, and share instant information about supply issues, prescription queries and drug interactions with the GPs. We receive amazing feedback from our customers, as very often we can deliver a prescription within a few hours in a rural locality.”

Philip’s pharmacies also offer a far wider range of vaccines than the norm, including the chicken pox, shingles, Hepatitis B and Pneumonia vaccine. “We’ve also had great success with running flu vaccine clinics offsite,” he adds. “We currently provide this service to the staff of a local private school, but we’re rolling this out to other local businesses now.”

The power of a team

While justifiably proud of his success to date, Philip is raring to go with all the opportunities Alitam affords. “Firstly, it’s amazing to be part of a team,” he smiles. “I love the cross-fertilisation of ideas and unique support which my Alitam peers can provide. That’s something I’ve definitely missed since my time with the National Co-operative Chemists. But, further to this, it’s all about effectively responding to the pressures in today’s marketplace and turning these into opportunities. We need to offer robust and efficient digital services, such as online platforms for customer interaction and appointment bookings. This will really improve the customer experience and allow pharmacists to spend more time with customers. I’m thrilled to be in a position now to adopt new private services and technology, this will catapult my business to the next level. It’s very risky as an independent to invest in such things, usually ‘in the dark’. But look at the knowledge bank I can access now! There’s a wealth of experience, supplier information and inside knowledge which is a game-changer for me.” Philip continues, “Alitam is the ultimate enabler, for me and my teams, for all of us members, and most importantly for our customers. It heralds a more empowering healthcare experience for all, and the significance of this will be felt for generations to come.”

A unique chemistry

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet the distinctive pharmacy duo Pat Durkin and Nicola Cleary.

Pat Durkin, pharmacist for 30 years, and his partner Nicola Cleary, a professional violinist, bring a magical chemistry to their pioneering store in Sligo. It drives a remarkable service-focused enterprise, which has cornered the market in specialised retail and consultative support to the local population.

A big turnaround

Nicola takes up the story, “Pat has vast experience in developing and running multiples, but sought a return to running an independent pharmacy. In 2014 we acquired Wards, which was doomed for closure, and we faced an enormous challenge for the first six months. However, we knew what we wanted to become: the most professional pharmacy in town. With 14 other pharmacies, including some big multiples, the competition was intense. All we could offer, above Pat’s skill, was our sincerity and empathy. So we focused on customer-centric solutions, offering the longest opening hours in town, and even a 24-hour emergency prescription service. And of fundamental importance is our loyal team of staff, who between them have many, many years of community pharmacy experience. They’ve developed areas of expertise alongside us, and undertaken specialist training; but most of all they are special people who really listen to, and empathise with, all our customers.”

Pat continues, “Things really took off, but the footprint of the store was tiny. In 2017 we acquired the building next door and set about designing an innovative layout. We installed a dispensing robot on the upper floor, to maximise efficiency and safety of dispensing medicines, and created a wonderful retail space on the ground floor. This opened up a whole world of opportunities, in terms of the unique services which our community needed. We have built everything around this, so the products on the shelf were life-enhancing, enabling people to live a fuller life when suffering with a variety of conditions.”

Nicola nods, “Quickly, we developed an expertise when it comes to independent living products, as we offer such a comprehensive selection. We have a full range of podiatry items, and even stock wide-fitting shoes. We also stock specialist clothing for arthritis sufferers, for example. Above all, our post-mastectomy solutions are close to our heart. Following a mastectomy, our pharmacy team are usually the first point of contact for women and we make this a really positive experience. It is an art, as every woman and every journey is different. A large part of the job is listening to people’s stories, then expertly fitting the items which will help them express themselves again. Up until this point, often, there has been no choice: we put women back in control, even down to the swimwear and sports clothing which feels comfortable.

It’s a unique offering, no other pharmacy in the region provides this. So all of these specialist services, together with our huge selection of alternative health and skincare products, has made us a destination pharmacy.”

Global inspiration

Pat credits Nicola with much of this popularity. “Nicola tours the world as a performer, and uses the opportunity to scour pharmacies in each country for the latest trends and all the inspiration she can find. When she returns, we brainstorm what we can implement here in Ireland. It’s an idiosyncratic approach which works; in 7 years our turnover has increased fivefold.”

Nicola smiles, “It’s ultimately about how we can solve our customers’ problems. We’re looking to arouse an emotion, and people do always remark that our pharmacy feels different. Our prime objective is to meet their needs; so that people feel better by the time they walk out of our pharmacy. And there’s no greater reward than a happy customer.”

The Alitam dream

Pat is a second generation pharmacist, passionate about the professionalism of his service, which sits at the heart of his local community. “My dream with Alitam is to maintain this ethos, while getting services off the ground quickly; possibly developing the post-mastectomy business and branching out into more specialist areas. Only with Alitam can I achieve this dual objective, as the corporate strength behind us allows us to go above and beyond for our community.”

Nicola agrees, “With Alitam we can offer our customers even more solutions for a better quality of life. We’re excited about implementing the latest technology to improve our business systems and customer access; and we’ll be able to create a strong online presence, including a retail arm for our specialist clothing. We can explore everything possible for Wards Pharmacy and the sector as a whole. It’s immensely energising and inspiring.”

Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo is quick to praise the couple. “By treading their own individual path, Pat and Nicola are proving how creativity and passion are vital components of any pharmacy business. They’ve carved out something completely unique and of enormous value to their community. I, and all the other Alitam members, are thrilled to be benefiting from their passion and experience. What a future awaits.”

The measure of success

By | * Alitam Press Release

An insight into the novel work of Alitam member Joe Haire.

The original Kissanes pharmacy, established by Joe Haire’s grandfather (pictured here), has been a hub of the local Graiguenamanagh community for 100 years. All the more powerful then that under Joe’s watchful eye this, and his 5 other pharmacies, are applying the latest innovative metrics and approaches to business management. Joe is pioneering a data-driven strategy with his business, one which is yielding tremendous results. “Joe is showing us just how business-critical customer service is for pharmacy, and he’s doing this with real, live data,” says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo. “He’s also accrued great wisdom with regards to running a small pharmacy group. It’s very inspiring to see how the investment in staff development and team cohesion has transformed his business over the years. Now, as part of Alitam, Joe will gain even greater returns by enhancing his service offering. The rewards of his participation, for all of us, will be tremendous.”

A desire to make a difference

With 6 thriving, rural pharmacies under his aegis, Joe is candid about his success. “The pharmacist is the product,” he says. “We are hands-on, influencing therapy choices and outcomes. Pharmacies can make a serious difference to community healthcare, just by paying great attention to the needs of their patients. I quadrupled the size of my original pharmacy business through this alone.” It was in the process of replicating this ethos of outstanding customer service across his stores, that Joe discovered the power of a set of firmly established group values. “From joining Kissanes until leaving, all our staff perform in alignment with our core beliefs.

These are broadly that our exceptional pharmacist-led teams deliver the very best personal care for customers’ health and well-being every time someone walks through the door. So no matter which store you find yourself in, you’ll find contented staff giving you lots of care and attention, driven by a desire to make a difference to your life.”

People first

Furthermore, Joe describes his business as putting ‘people first.’ He explains, “So much effort goes into recruiting the very best people and building a close-knit team; people learn from each other and they’re empowered to come up with ideas and policy changes. Everyone from the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to the sales team and store managers, is valued for their vital input. We’re always learning, always developing. All of which means customers get the best service possible and our business thrives.”

Innovative metrics

Joe is using metrical analysis to track something hitherto seen as nebulous: the level of care delivered in store. “We track the number of pharmacist touchpoints with patients,” he explains. “We track where they happen – at the counter, in the consultation room or over the phone. We also track with the customer the quality of the consultation process. Empathy is the key to the success of those pharmacists and pharmacy staff. And with patient interactions we’re actually measuring how happy people are with the quality of service. In all, it’s clear that what people want is an enriching time with the pharmacist and his or her team. So everything we do is oriented towards providing that.”

Joe also measures the performance of his staff, and is passionate about their development. They are challenged to be the very best version of themselves for their teams and their customers and are largely self-motivated. “We pride ourselves on the efficiency of our team,” he says. “And by measuring progress, we can keep enhancing that, giving team members the stimulating careers they crave. Currently, all my staff are undergoing a ‘Mental Fitness’ training programme provided by the pioneering Pharmacist Coach, Rachel Dungan. This will empower all my staff to minimise burnout, develop leadership capacity and deepen further our connections with our customers.”

The future is Alitam

Given his track record in business innovation, Joe is understandably excited about the future with Alitam. “I’m really looking forward to learning from the massive experience and knowledge of the Alitam membership,” he enthuses. “Oonagh O’Haagan is one such member with whom I’m already working. She’s incredibly talented and I’m benefitting from her considerable skill and insight. I’m highly committed to passing on my nuggets of wisdom too. It’s through this seamless collaboration that we’re building something remarkable.”

“We know pharmacies have to be innovative now,” he continues, “not dependent on the state for revenue. There’s no control over what you’ll get paid, it’s hard to predict income. With the group power of Alitam I can at last get more private services off the ground, such as cardiac and chronic disease risk management, addiction support and many more. This is where the demand is growing, many of the health needs of our customers aren’t currently being met in their own local communities, and with the right support they are willing to invest in their health. The demand is there for the broad range of skills that pharmacists have and in Alitam pharmacies of the future we will deliver those skills and meet that demand.”

He smiles, “The crucial part is that we are keeping our identity within the community, keeping our value system based around exceptional care from a trusted pharmacist. The future is definitely Alitam, and it’s very bright indeed.”

Relative values

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet Abdool Kureeman, Alitam pharmacist and relative of founder Feisal Nahaboo.

Back in November 2019 Alitam was just an idea. Born out of a series of conversations between Feisal and his father’s cousin Abdool Kureeman, a highly successful community pharmacist in Surrey with a wealth of experience and insights into the pharmacy sector. “I was explaining how pharmacists have been consistently undervalued and underused,” says Abdool. “How we’ve proved our capabilities over the years and how the landscape is evolving. Feisal looked into the remuneration models and accounts, and it was like a fire being lit. After the success of the accountancy group Xeinadin, Feisal was sure the pharmacy sector would benefit from similar disruption. We began brainstorming and soon a new model for pharmacy was created. By December 2019 Alitam was a reality.”

Natural evolution

Abdool has practised as a pharmacist since 1985 and testifies to the superiority of community pharmacy over the large multiples. “I look after everyone who walks through my door,” he explains. “That’s why we’ve thrived, I put my patients first. One of my current pharmacies was the first contract awarded under new NHS regulations in 2013 after the closure of a branch of a large pharmacy group. I moved into new premises and started from scratch, but within 7 years I’ve taken it to a very profitable business. We’re part of the fabric of the community because we care. This is where the gold is, and Alitam will help us find even more.”

Indeed, Abdool sees Alitam’s offering as a natural evolution of the increasing clinical and well-being services delivered by community pharmacies. “With the advent of Patient Group Directions, we’re already evolving towards a much greater clinical role,” he explains. “Having undertaken a relatively simple training, we’re giving out prescription medicines in certain circumstances, for example weight management, so customers need not wait for a GP appointment. We develop a strong relationship with customers on their health journey which, in itself, is a huge boost to them. And beyond this, I see clearly how community pharmacies can gain a bigger share of the over-counter trade by identifying innovative health care products and services to better meet our customers’ needs.”

Group power, local difference

Abdool is fulsome in his praise of Feisal, “Where we are with Alitam is incredible, far beyond my wildest dreams,” he laughs. “Although, knowing Feisal and his phenomenal work ethic, it’s not really a surprise. He thinks so creatively about all the revenue streams and ways to better serve our customers. But also, about the healthcare model overall, and how pharmacists should be empowered to fill the enormous gaps which are widening by the day. Characteristically, he’s amassed an impressive team around him, people who are way out in front and totally dedicated to the cause.”

Aside from his pride in Feisal, and the huge optimism and energy Alitam has injected into Abdool’s working life, what in particular excites him? “Group power,” he says immediately, “adjusted to local needs. As this formidable group, we have more negotiating power and potentially huge influence. We can run pilot schemes, for instance, and submit meaningful results. But this will never lead to a ‘one size fits all’ approach to pharmacy. On the contrary, we will be maximising the power of each local pharmacy to make a difference to our neighbours’ lives. This is why the model cannot fail.”

Feisal could not be more grateful to the man he calls ‘uncle’. “From the first conversation to the full creation of another corporate miracle, Abdool has been a complete inspiration. He is the reason we are here. Previously I had never spoken about the pharmacy world to anyone. After just an hour with him my eyes were opened. We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to this incredible man.”

A driving force

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet Alitam member Nick Thorne.

Nick is at the forefront of the Welsh government’s initiative to broaden the remit of clinical pharmacy; and his three stores in the Cardiff area are a force to be reckoned with. Nick, together with business partner David Fairclough, built the business on the foundation of a talented and loyal team; focused on delivering fantastic customer service. Nick is now spearheading greater clinical roles for his pharmacists, lighting the way for the pharmacies of other nations to follow. Feisal Nahaboo says, “Nick works tirelessly to prove just how much a forward-thinking pharmacist can do. He has a visionary government behind him, and is now also powered by the group strength of Alitam. His considerable experience of the new clinical territory for pharmacy is a real boon; and his focus on the wellbeing of staff, and their professional development, is an inspiration.”

Beating the competition

Nick acquired his first store in 2007, in a highly competitive market. “It was tough competing with the big multiples,” he explains. “But I persisted. Having identified a store where I could make a real difference, I won the bid and since increased its turnover sixfold. Two more stores followed and today I have a staff of 24, including 4 full time delivery drivers.”

Nick discerned other opportunities early on. “From the outset it was clear the only way to compete was through superlative customer service. And that’s all down to the team around me. I put a lot of effort into recruiting and training staff, so they’re happy and dedicated to the cause of customer contentment. This in turn leads to loyal customers who trust us implicitly. It’s a simple precept, but a powerful one.”

Another area of improvement caught Nick’s eye. “The more time my pharmacists have to spend with customers, the better the level of individual care and the stronger our business. So I relieved them of prescription-checking duties by training staff to be Accredited Check in Technicians. This freed up the pharmacists to deliver the clinical services the Welsh government encourages us to offer. We’ve since taken this even further by implementing the Common Ailments Service (treating a wide range of conditions directly) and training two Independent Prescribers. Currently these IPs provide support with many aspects of women’s health and an oral contraceptive service. But the will of the government, and ourselves, is for them to cover a more extensive clinical remit. We’re absolutely ready to go ahead, once the focus shifts away from the demands of the pandemic.”

‘Alitam is an inspiration’

Nick is candid about the instant appeal of the Alitam model. “I’d already worked with several people closely involved with the genesis of Alitam, and respect and trust them completely. So I knew it had to be something special. And, once the concept was explained, I felt it was a no-brainer. Bringing diverse strengths together, pooling the knowledge and experience gained by providing so many different services….It’s an inspiration. As an independent I’ve been attending to building a team and increasing turnover; but Alitam has really focused me on increasing profit margins through delivering more private services. In the past year alone I’ve taken on many more, including allergy testing, ear wax removal and a travel clinic. This is all because I’m bolstered by the talented Alitam team. I’m fired up about the future – not just for me, but for us all. Together we are going to make an incalculable difference that will be noted for generations to come.”

First among pharmacists

By | * Alitam Press Release

An insight into the work of Hardial Singh Uppal.

Widely trusted and respected by the diverse community of Handsworth, Hardial delivers a pioneering range of services through his Soho Pharmacy. Established in 1992, the pharmacy has achieved a number of ‘firsts’ in the world of pharmacy and healthcare. He’s flanked by a loyal team of staff, unchanged for 25 years, and steered by his wife Samantha – herself a visionary in the realm of preventative healthcare and wellbeing.

Forward thinking

Having worked hard to connect with his local community (and relocating to adjoin one of the biggest health centres in Birmingham) Hardial’s thoughts turned to innovation. Galvanised by the liberating vision of Birmingham City Council, and the Primary Care Trust at the time, his was one of the first pharmacies to attain the status of ‘Healthy Living Pharmacy’ in 2011. “This was a brand new concept back then,” explains Hardial. “We were the very first, and now of course it’s the norm. It’s a testament to the forward-thinking nature of our local council and CCG, who for some time have seen the great potential in the role of a community pharmacy.”

Then came another first, with Hardial’s pharmacy pioneering the comprehensive sexual health clinic ‘Umbrella’. “It heralded a minor revolution in sexual healthcare,” says Hardial. “Now customers can access all sexual health services under one roof – everything from chlamydia treatment, the Hepatitis B vaccination and contraception counselling down to emergency contraception. We have the trusted position; we have the expertise – it was a natural fit. And it takes a lot of pressure off busy GPs. Still today, very few pharmacies offer this full range of support.”

Hardial provides even more clinical care through the Minor Ailments scheme, where his team can efficiently treat customers with UTIs and conjunctivitis, for example. He runs a busy smoking cessation clinic, a hugely popular vaccination service for those making the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, and even supports customers with male pattern baldness. “People come from a long distance as we offer so much. In fact it’s quite normal for customers who’ve moved away to keep using us,” smiles Hardial.

The power of prevention

Not content to rest on their laurels, Hardial and Samantha are blazing a trail into exciting new territory. Samantha elaborates, “There’s a shift towards functional medicine, a more personalised approach to healthcare. People are proactively seeking health and wellness support, a trend we’ve noticed for some time and one growing ever bigger since the pandemic. We have an ageing population because we’re keeping people alive for longer, but they’re not really living. There’s so much people can do to keep vibrant and enjoy life fully.” One intervention of particular interest to Hardial and Samantha is Ozone Therapy. “This is the process of delivering ozone gas directly into your bloodstream to restore optimum cellular oxygenation. It can boost the immune system and improve many conditions. Very few clinics offer it, but the demand is there. With the might of Alitam behind us, we could be at the forefront of this movement to optimise health. As part of a group of likeminded people, so much can be done. Alitam can be way ahead of the curve, and what’s more exciting than that?”

Belief in Alitam

Hardial continues, “The landscape for pharmacy has changed. With reduced profitability from dispensing we need to look at new income streams. Extending the range of professional, private services is the way forward, offering more preventative healthcare and support for overall wellness. Millennials have different expectations; they want instant treatment – and for this they’re willing to pay. With the diversity of services offered by Alitam members, we’re in a uniquely powerful position to exploit this market. It’s magical that this combination of talent and experience has come together, all united in the great belief that this is the way forward. The atmosphere of collaboration and support is so positive and energising. I’m very proud to be a member.”

‘The recognition we deserve’

“There’s another aspect too,” continues Hardial. “Through Alitam there’s finally a recognition of the hard work that’s been put into these pharmacy businesses for many years. Yes, there is financial reward, but of enormous value to me personally is the championing of all that pharmacists do. It’s as if we’re being awarded at last.”

Feisal Nahaboo, the founder of Alitam enthuses, “What a shining example of the pharmacy of the future. Hardial and his wife have consistently shown the value of looking ahead, taking a leap and delivering services which have moved the entire sector forward. This is the very spirit of Alitam. They are a very valuable addition to the team.”

The future of family pharmacy

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet Prabodh and Meena Devlukia.

Husband and wife team Prabodh and Meena Devlukia have proudly served their Norwich community for 31 years, building a group of 5 stores and a team of 40 loyal staff. “We’ve grown up with people in the area, helping parents, children and grandchildren,” says Meena. “We run extremely busy pharmacies, dispensing up to 14,000 items a month each, and delivering for 8 hours a day. But the true measure of success is our customers’ satisfaction.”

A strong team

Prabodh and Meena play to their strengths, Meena is group buyer while Prabodh manages the pharmacy side. “We enjoy hard work and forward planning,” explains Prabodh. “So we’ve built a strong service offering alongside our core dispensing business. This year we delivered 2,000 flu jabs and we’re ready to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine from the end of April. We have three consulting rooms and an army of volunteers ready. Our community are like family to us, so it’s only right we help them all we can.”

Meena takes up the theme, “We know pharmacy is moving away from dispensing, and toward offering a comprehensive range of clinical services,” she says. “So we’re about to enhance our current offering with the launch of a travel clinic, and testing and treatment for sore throats and UTIs. This is in addition to our popular ear irrigation and inhaler clinics, along with all the NHS services such as emergency contraception. We are building real momentum as we move forward, and this was the attraction of Alitam.”

‘Where the future lies’

“Immediately we recognised Alitam as an unmissable opportunity,” enthuses Prabodh. “As a small group of pharmacies, we can only innovate and streamline to a limited extent. And yet innovation and cost-efficiencies are what’s required of pharmacy today. So we were delighted to come face-to-face with the energy and vision of Feisal Nahaboo.”

Meena rejoins, “The entire membership, and the executive leadership, is very inspiring and empowering. Now we can invest in the technology our customers and business require; we can exchange ideas and collaborate on future strategies; and we can take on the significant threat of online pharmacies. Of course, all of us offer a personal service, and great expertise, but with certain online pharmacies dispensing over a million items a month, we can’t dismiss this threat to our current core business.”

“Prabodh and Meena show us the future of the family pharmacy,” says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo. “It’s instructive to see how they’re taking their community-focused pharmacy forward in order to serve their customers better and future-proof the business. Alitam exists to further empower such businesses, and I’m excited to see what the Devlukias achieve in the near future.”

Prabodh agrees, “Just like Alitam, we’re always looking to the future. Nothing can stop us now.”

A beacon for pharmacy

By | * Alitam Press Release

Introducing Alitam member Liam Farmer.

Liam Farmer and his aptly named Beacon Pharmacy in Dublin are an inspiration to those looking for the future of pharmacy. Here Liam is capitalising on his close links with the private hospital next door, offering a uniquely complementary service of highly specialised OTC products.

A pharmacist born and bred

Liam was born into a family of pharmacists and has over 30 years experience serving his local communities in Dublin. But in Beacon Pharmacy he’s created something totally unique. “It’s a niche pharmacy, unlike anything you will find on the high street,” he explains. “The hospital to which we are allied specialises in fertility, dermatology, ophthalmics and orthopaedics. As such we have developed a complementary pharmacy service, offering customers an expertise and product range they won’t find elsewhere.”

The connection between hospital and pharmacy seems effortless. “Over fifteen years we’ve developed a great relationship,” enthuses Liam. “A consultant will send patients here, and we can source almost any product. A significant part of the clinic is concerned with holistic approaches to fertility, with an emphasis on a growing number of complementary health products such as nutritional support. Most pharmacists would shake their heads and be unable to source these, let alone advise on them. It’s such a specialised area that foreign patients of consultants continue to buy their products from us even when back home. We ship all over the world and follow up with patients to see how they are getting on.”

National reputation

Such is Liam’s reputation that he now advises pharmacies across Ireland on which fertility support products to buy, and where to source them. Liam and his team are respected as authorities on the most efficacious OTC skincare, orthopaedic aids and nutritional supplements to enhance eye health. “We have evolved to meet a unique need,” smiles Liam. “This is what pharmacy is well-placed to do. It’s a fascinating and stimulating environment, it’s ever changing. But we have our finger on the pulse, so to speak. As the latest innovations hit our shelves, as the treatments evolve and knowledge grows, we guide our customers. Like all pharmacy teams, we care deeply about helping people with their personal health quest.”

Going for growth with Alitam

Having joined forces with the formidable membership team of Alitam, Liam has his sights firmly set on key areas of growth. “Alitam is vital to get to where we need to be: enhancing our instore offering with clinical services such as Vitamin D tests; and building a strong online retail presence, capable of meeting the enormous demand. With the financing and resources of Alitam, I can finally realise what for so long has eluded me: selling our skill and niche products online. Already I’m liaising with my peers on best practice for online pharmacy retail, and we’re making it happen.”

Says Alitam founder, Feisal Nahaboo, “Liam brilliantly highlights the extraordinary range of opportunities which are present for pharmacists today. He’s captured a unique market and, as part of Alitam, will now be able to realise the full extent of this. He’s a highly prized mix of caring clinician and astute businessman, and his membership will benefit us all.”

The man behind the miracle

By | * Alitam Press Release, Feisal's Posts

Getting to know Alitam Founder Feisal Nahaboo.

Feisal was born to do things differently. Growing up on a council estate in Bracknell, there was never any doubt in his mind that he’d transform something, someday. “I was always looking at things in a different way to everyone else,” he says. “I could see, even then, that people tend to stick to the same way of doing things.” He smiles, “My instinct was always to turn things on their head, to creatively spin ideas in my mind and see what happens. You suddenly free up possibilities, it’s like you take the brakes off and can power forward.”

As a young man, it became very clear to Feisal and those around him that the corporate world was the right home for this unique drive. At the tender age of 27, Feisal took the leap of faith to leave employment with an intent to disrupt and innovate the accountancy sector. He began self employment by working from his 3-bedroom ex council house. Just affording a £5k deposit (and borrowing legal transaction fees from his parents), he purchased his first small home in 2002 and began industry disruption from his own bedroom. He invested just £450 on second hand goods including a desk, fax machine, printer and a very dated laptop. Within weeks, his marketing systems were working effectively and he was engaging thousands of accountants into seminars where he began a career of motivating, influencing and directing substantial change in the accountancy sector.

“For fifteen years I helped accountants develop their practice, beyond the statutory compliance-based services, to offer a huge amount more and lock their clients in for longer,” explains Feisal. “I enabled them to deliver a wide range of value-added services including employment law, HR, corporate finance, insolvency, financial services and technology to name a few. It not only transformed each individual accountancy practice, it turned them into flagships for accountancy as we see it today.”

A force of nature

Bob Stebbings has worked alongside Feisal since those early days, and fondly testifies to his remarkable qualities. “Feisal is a force of nature,” he grins. “He has unlimited reserves of energy and, if he decides that something needs to be done, it will get done. In any given situation, he has an innate ability to focus on the critical factor, to divine a range of possible solutions and to find the optimum path to the desired outcome.”

Now a highly sought after fixture on the speaking circuit, and widely acclaimed for his business acumen, strategic expertise and creative vision, Feisal is the one behind whom all others gather.

A world first

Feisal channelled his trademark ingenuity and extraordinary energy into the genesis of the Overnight Multiple Merger Model (OMMM). Hailed as a ‘corporate miracle,’ this world-first involved merging a significant number of companies into one group at low cost and in record time. It was a stunningly original idea, and is taking the world by storm.

Feisal explains, “From the affiliate business model down to the vertical integrated business model, there are at least 39 options out there for building a business of substantial size. But I could visualise another, one so elegantly simple and requiring a handful of staff to get the model up and running. It offers a low-risk vehicle for high profit after tax (PAT) and the ability to pay high dividends. You can now build a ‘corporate giant’ at low cost, maximum speed and with substantial profit and value.”

The very first OMMM was Xeinadin Group, a 122 strong accountancy firm merger, overnight on 31st May 2019.Xeinadin is named after Feisal’s two eldest children Zein and Nadine. “Typically, merging companies is highly challenging,” says Feisal. “Requiring agreement on shared business principles, objectives, values and ongoing strategy. And yet, after a year of discreet planning, with competitors completely unaware of any activity, an industry-changing top 12 accountancy company was born.” The result has been to turn the accountancy sector on its head. Xeinadin is out in front with regard to client service, innovation and profitability. Witnessing such success, Feisal could hardly stop there.

The future of pharmacy

“The beauty of the OMM model is that it applies to all sectors around the world. But I’d had my eye on the pharmacy industry in the UK and Ireland region for some time. I thought that the OMM could be the key to driving the change our vital pharmacy businesses needed.” Indeed, while Feisal is passionate about the OMMM, it’s with regard to the pharmacy industry that his eyes really light up. “We see now, more than ever, that the healthcare systems in the UK and Ireland are collapsing under the weight of increasing need. One of our operational board members, Sukhjit Singh Gil, describes the current health service as ‘a giant behemoth.’ He’s spot on. While it performs well in many ways, unfortunately it can’t be nimble and reactive enough to deal with the complex demands of today’s population.” He continues, “And yet all along we’ve had these caring, skilled professional pharmacists, deeply embedded in their communities, often able to clinically advise patients and thus avoid the need for hospital and GP visits. And that’s when I had my A-ha! moment. What I needed to do was create a group of the very best pharmacies in the UK and Ireland; and use the enormous cost efficiencies, innovations and drive afforded by this group to enable a sea-change in the way we do healthcare.”

The improvement of healthcare for all

And thus Alitam was born. Feisal was characteristically meticulous in the process. “I’ve handpicked the top performing pharmacists in these geographical territories,” he says. “Those with not only admirable clinical skills, but entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mindsets. People who inspire me every day with their commitment and vision. Each has a different strength they bring to the table: Oonagh O-Hagan demonstrates how retail flair can transform the pharmacy offering; Mark Ledwidge is redefining the way we prescribe medicines; pharmacists like Nathan Raymond and Karen O’Brien are collaborating with GPs like never before; the Walker brothers are delivering the ultimate wellness offering in store; Dhruv Patel is the doyen of NextGen thinking. That’s really just to mention a few.”

“All of it is built on collaboration and trust. For hundreds of years, pharmacies have worked in competition with each other. For the first time, we are pooling an enormous amount of wisdom, connections and talent to exploit all the abilities of pharmacists; to create wellbeing hubs throughout the UK and Ireland which dramatically ease the burden on the NHS and improve healthcare for all.”

The Alitam executive board is one of the most stellar ever seen. A huge source of pride for Feisal is his Alitam Chairman, Sir Ken Olisa. “Having Sir Ken at the helm fills me with certainty that we are building something special,” he says. “None other than the Queen’s right hand man is guiding us towards success. I know I must be doing something right,” he smiles.

From the outset, it was clear that Feisal had the talent and energy to make Alitam a ground-breaking pharmacy group. Many business propositions come and go, but this one is remarkable, trustworthy and here to stay.

Surrounded by brilliance

Feisal credits his success to surrounding himself with the leaders in their field. “The criterion of excellence I apply when picking a business also applies to the team around me,” he says. “I surround myself with brilliance: brilliant thinkers, the best financial brains, visionary entrepreneurs with phenomenal track records, the top marketing professionals. All of them are at the top of their game. I trust them completely.”

Alitam executive director Arnold Wylie agrees, “Feisal’s ability to build and shepherd a community of like-minded people is quite extraordinary. It’s undoubtedly a big factor in the success he has enjoyed to date. I know I speak for everyone when I say how grateful we are to be led by this exceptional figure. The pharmacy and healthcare worlds are about to be transformed. Knowing Feisal he won’t stop here. I’m aware he is already planning an innovative attack on the Veterinary, Optician, Legal, Nursing Home and financial services industries with many others to follow.”

Together we’re stronger

By | * Alitam Press Release

Introducing pharmacist Iwona Machaczka and business partner Alan Costello.

Combining the clinical pharmacy skills of Iwona Machaczka and the business brain of Alan Costello has paid great dividends for this formidable duo. Their Dublin store, Strand Pharmacy, was built from scratch into the award winning, busy pharmacy relied upon by so many in the city today. And now their sights are set on exponential expansion, thanks to the futuristic vision and strategic might of Alitam.

A fixture among change

Iwona takes up the story, “I graduated as a Master of Pharmaceutical Science in Poland in 1998, and proceeded to work as a pharmacist in Poland, and then upon settling in Ireland. I was introduced to Alan Costello in 2010 and we decided to open our pharmacy in the middle of the financial crisis.” Iwona grins, “Why not? We opened in October 2011 and in a short time have become a fixture in our ever-changing community in the inner city. We’ve created a place where all regulars are greeted by their name, we know their kids and their family stories – not only their medical needs.” It’s a testament to Iwona’s ethic of community focus, warm personality and significant clinical skills, that people still visit long after they’ve moved out of the area. “I strive to offer as much as I can to better people’s health,” she explains. “Everything from the latest tests such as Vitamin D checks, the herpes simplex vaccine and, soon, the Covid-19 vaccine down to methadone dispensing and smoking cessation clinics.”

“Iwona always goes the extra mile,” says Alan. “Investing in her was an easy decision to make. The pharmacy has been a phenomenal success. And her work in the Dublin Community Co-operative, helping women to stop smoking, is really inspiring.”

‘This is it’

The advent of Alitam represented another ‘easy decision’ for Alan. “The minute I heard Feisal speak, I knew ‘this is it.’ As if we’d all been waiting for this vision for pharmacy, but hadn’t realised it. Alitam makes enormous business sense, there will be huge growth for us as an individual store and for all members. It allows us to learn from giants on the pharmacy scene like Oonagh O’Hagan and Patrick McCormack. It’s no accident they have legendary status here: they’re already taking pharmacy to the next level with their use of NextGen technology, and catering to the latest wellbeing trends. I immediately forgot any idea of selling up, and am committed to 5-10 years’ collaboration with some of the best minds in pharmacy and business. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

‘Playing to our strengths’

Iwona agrees, “As a pharmacist, I’m now free to play to my strengths. Being a small independent there are limits to what you can do, no matter how great your ambition. Now I can really deliver fantastic service to all my customers. We can embrace automation with robot dispensing, hub and spoke, 24 hour dispensing machines and so on. We can build a brilliant online store and increase our presence online generally. I’m very excited about the online consultation system other members have already employed. And, of course, I’m now well placed to implement even more clinical services. All of this will be immensely rewarding for me, it will change the lives of our customers, and the leap forward in business terms will make Alan a very happy man.”

Feisal Nahaboo, the founder of Alitam, is quick to praise Iwona and Alan. “They’re a fantastic double act,” he smiles. “They bring the best of the pharmacy and business worlds to the table. Their thriving pharmacy is proof that an astute investor in a deeply rooted community service can yield great results. They are a real asset to the Alitam team.”