Health swoop

Digital pharmacy Phlo in landmark US deal

Nadeem Sarwar

Nadeem Sarwar: stronger position (pic: Terry Murden)

Online pharmacy company Phlo Technologies has acquired the UK arm of US-based healthcare unicorn Truepill in a deal that makes it the market leader in the business to business sector. 

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, is described by the Glasgow-based firm as a landmark in the consolidation of digital pharmacy.

It follows Phlo’s £10m Series A fund raise, announced in February, and Truepill’s decision to focus solely on its US operations. A highly competitive bidding process for the UK business was announced last autumn.

Phlo emerged as the preferred bidder on account of synergies in technology infrastructure, patient care, and the pharmacy services provided both for NHS and private partners.  

It has acquired Truepill’s partnerships with several of the UK’s most popular digital healthcare providers, including a range of platforms for contraceptive advice, metabolic and gynaecological health.

It has also acquired Truepill UK’s technology stack, including its full set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and prescribing technology.

Once integrated, Phlo’s technology will facilitate the prescribing, dispensing and delivery of prescribed and off-the-shelf medications and treatments directly to the users of these platforms. 

As part of a commercial partnership attached to the deal, Phlo has committed to supporting Truepill’s US partners should any of them look to launch into the UK market.

Both organisations have also agreed to explore further joint ventures as appropriate. 

The consolidation will enable Phlo to expand the geographic footprint of its operations, with plans including the launch of same-day on-demand medication delivery in Manchester alongside existing services in Birmingham and London.  

Phlo plans to increase its headcount, which is now at 90 across the UK, and all of Truepill UK’s existing pharmacy and warehouse staff have been offered jobs with Phlo.  

Nadeem Sarwar, founder and CEO of Phlo, commented: “Phlo’s acquisition of Truepill UK marks a hugely significant moment in the evolution of digital healthcare in the UK.

“Following our Series A raise, Phlo is in a stronger position than ever to lead digital transformation in the pharmacy sector and to play a pivotal role in improving health outcomes in the UK.” 

Jason McGibbon, chairman of Phlo, added: “The Truepill deal caps an incredibly busy and successful six-month period for the team.  Fuelled by our successful Series A raise, the Truepill acquisition will accelerate our digital healthcare strategy throughout the remainder of 2023 and beyond. 

“The levels of commitment from the Truepill team in effecting a smooth transition have been outstanding, and we are looking forward to working together to fuel the next phase of our growth.” 

Shakil Ahmed, Truepill UK managing director, commented: “As Truepill made the decision to focus on the US market, our priority was to ensure our UK patients, clients and staff faced as little disruption as possible.  

“Our priority was to find the right acquirer who shares Truepill’s vision and ethos of the future of pharmacy.

“That meant finding a business that is patient focused, with a strong technology stack and who were committed to growing and innovating in the UK market with a focus on servicing current and future consumer health clients.

“In Phlo, we found a company which shared all these objectives, and I don’t think we could have found a better fit. I am delighted to be continuing an ongoing commercial partnership with Phlo that will allow our US partners to launch in the UK in the future.” 

Addleshaw Goddard’s corporate team in Scotland are long-standing advisers to Phlo and advised on the acquisition. Its team was led by corporate partner, David Anderson and managing associate, Sam Lawson.  

Brabners’ corporate team advised Truepill on the disposal. Its team was led by corporate partner David Seddon.

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