Kamsons Pharmacy

It was during 1979 in Uckfield, East Sussex, that the first Kamsons Pharmacy was opened. Over 40 years later, the company has now grown to 77 pharmacies and employs nearly 1000 people.


The family-owned chain was founded by Bipin and Bharat Chotai and their brother Piyoosh, who sadly died in January 2020. The family came to England from Uganda in the 1970s, to escape persecution from its dictator Idi Amin.

Their drive and determination to build a better life helped develop the values and ethos of Kamsons.


“The nice thing is that it’s still family owned with lots of staff that have worked here for many years – Kamsons has still got a family feel to it which is quite different to working for the multinationals,” says Mark Donaghy, Professional Development Manager at Kamsons.

Mark who joined the business in 2005 described what the Chotai family has achieved as “incredible”.

“They started with the one pharmacy here in Uckfield and built it into a chain. You still definitely feel like you’re working for an independent and the pharmacist managers feel like they’ve got the autonomy to handle the branch as their own pharmacy. It’s nice that it’s owned by pharmacists, managed by pharmacists, with area managers who are pharmacists –  that professionalism runs in our blood, throughout the organisation.”


Kamsons are based mainly throughout Sussex but also have pharmacies in Kent, London, Surrey, Hampshire, Luton, West Yorkshire, Manchester and now Dorset.

The group recently invested in a new state-of-the-art warehouse in Uckfield and use innovative “weasel” robots which help transport medicines across the warehouse. Mark says Kamsons Pharmacy is the first pharmaceutical warehouse in the country to implement this technology, after much development work.

“We have about a dozen weasel robots. We’ve retained all of our staff but it means that we can actually do more from the new warehouse. By moving from a manual-picking to an automated system has allowed the capacity of the warehouse to increase to delivering a million units of stock to the pharmacies each month.”

Mark explains that the warehouse has also been covered in 925 solar panels which are used to power some of the electric vehicles that deliver medicines to the pharmacies and directly to patients as part of Kamsons Pharmacy drive towards becoming carbon neutral.


“We’ve got electric vehicles which are now being charged overnight and the fuel is free of charge. It’s all coming from the sun. We’re looking at purchasing more electric cars and hope to have half a dozen pharmacies doing an initial rollout of charging points for these electric vehicles.”

The pharmacies all have a clean, clinical-look and provide a range of services to patients and the NHS.

Mark says a lot has changed since he first became a pharmacist.

“I qualified in 1993 and if someone said to me then that pharmacists would be busy vaccinating patients against flu or against covid, I would have been absolutely shocked. The development of services has been quite phenomenal.”

He adds: “Two of our independent pharmacist prescribers have been prescribing for ten years now. They’re prescribing methadone to substance misusers in the pharmacy setting. Innovative things like that are proving their worth over a long period of time.”

Kamsons Pharmacy, who have been NPA members for over 40 years, find its insurance service particularly useful.


“The help of the insurance team has been phenomenal,” says Mark.

“You get such a prompt response from them. Our new staff are sometimes surprised to know that everyone is insured working for us, at whatever capacity. It helps you sleep well at night.”

Mark says the representation work by the NPA has also been very helpful for the sector.

“The NPA is standing up for independent pharmacies all the time. We’re not having to fight for recognition like we used to.”

During the pandemic, some Kamsons pharmacies were working at the height of a dangerous Covid-19 variant found in Kent.

“People were coming up to us and saying they’ve been waiting for a couple of weeks for their delivery from an online pharmacy. A lot of the postal workers had got covid and so there were limited postal deliveries. At times like that, people who might not ordinarily use our pharmacies really found the benefit of using a local community pharmacy.

“Our pharmacy teams have done tremendously, coping with massive queues. We had some of the multinational pharmacies closed down for weeks with very limited notice and so some of our pharmacies became doubly busy overnight. It’s been intense, very pressurised but we’ve managed to keep all of the 77 pharmacies open every day.”

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