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Medpoint secures finance to provide innovative tech for pharmacies

Medpoint secures finance to provide innovative tech for pharmacies

The local pharmacy is the cornerstone of every community, with health advice provided by highly trained experts. However, pharmacists are having to spend more time than ever before dispensing prescriptions, rather than using their clinical expertise to help patients, with an estimated 1.1 billion prescriptions through community prescribing in 2017-18.

Some degree of automation has been introduced in parts of the industry, but the call has now been properly answered by Kirkcaldy company, Medicine Collection Ltd trading as “Medpoint”, with the help of a loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland. Supported under the Scottish Growth Scheme, the loan scheme is designed to help Scottish SMEs innovate, grow and diversify.


Medicine Collection Ltd produces Medpoint, a prescription collection kiosk. The concept is simple – pharmacy staff load up the Medpoint with prescriptions and an app lets the patient know their prescription is ready to collect – at any time of the day or night, and without queuing. The machine offers temperature readings, takes prescription requests and contactless payments, and is safe and secure, with CCTV, alarms and a robust anti tamper design. There are two products in the range, the iSeries ATM style dispenser, and Medpoint Solo, a fully temperature controlled freestanding version, designed as part of their Covid-19 response to enable rapid deployment with little or no building or planning works.

CEO Mark Hedley explained Medpoint’s development journey:

“We wanted to find a way to make dispensing simpler for patients and time and cost effective for pharmacy staff. Co-founder Kevin Murphy designed the original Medpoint because what we’d been looking for existed in some form, but an extremely high price point and some design elements that we felt could be better made it unattractive for our businesses.

“Because we are pharmacy operators and we know our business, we knew the demand was there. From initially deciding to develop a bespoke UK solution through to launch took three years. The UK regulatory framework is complex and challenging; and we also wanted to make sure we had built an excellent product and recruited the skills we needed to build and launch it. The market has responded incredibly well and since May 2020 Medpoints have handled more than 200,000 transactions.”

The company installed a prototype in a High Wickham pharmacy in 2018. Testing proved it could be turned into a production line model, and they are now subcontracting the next phase with production manufacturers.

Mark says the momentum has been huge: “Pharmacies, both single operator and corporate chains, are seeing all sorts of benefits. We’ve even got one in Leighton Hospital in Crewe to help reduce pressure on the pharmacy and potentially reduce bed blocking (where patients take up hospital beds while they wait for medication before they can be discharged).”

The company received grant funding from Innovate UK to develop the standard machine, but realised they needed to widen the business plan and offer a standalone machine: “The pandemic really put our foot on the accelerator, and the standalone offering has been a real breakthrough for us, but we needed additional funding to take it all the way. We looked at various investment opportunities, but most demanded equity investment or heavy personal guarantees, so we were delighted to find that UMi didn’t come with lots of restrictions. The due diligence was thorough but pretty straightforward and the UMi team were really easy to talk to. Some lenders feel like they want to trip you up and automatically say no to everything, but UMi really understood us. During a period of great disruption, this has been a real achievement on their part.”

Tom Brock, UMi Debt Finance Scotland Fund Director, said the benefits of Medpoint were obvious: “The company might not have been trading for years, but that’s not always what we’re looking for. We want to encourage innovative ideas like this that translate into a product that makes peoples’ lives better, in this case by simplifying the prescription collection process. It’s a clear and clever proposition, but one that has a lot of hard work, creative thinking and trialling sitting behind it.”

The loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland has enabled Medicine Collection Ltd to properly roll out an expanded product offering, and Mark and Kevin are now recruiting sales and admin, tech and R&D experts from across the UK.

Mark encouraged all companies, but particularly start-ups, to give UMi Debt Finance Scotland a call: “A lot of lenders just wouldn’t touch us because we were reasonably early stage and didn’t have a long trading history, but UMi took us seriously and we wouldn’t be in this strong market position without their support.

“We started with four people and will easily be up to 20 over the next few months. There are more than 14,500 pharmacies across the country - and we’re ready to supply them all with Medpoints.”

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Last Updated: 22-Dec-2021