BLOG: Pharmacists Are Among Our Unsung Heroes

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit many pharmacies and the sector as a whole hard. Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, takes a look at their often unrecognised contribution and the role they will play in the nation’s eventual recovery from Covid-19 and a possible no-deal Brexit.   

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic pharmacists were on the front line, ensuring patients were able to get the medicines they needed, as the country went into full lockdown.

As a key manufacturer and supplier of medicines to the NHS, pharmacies and hospitals, my business felt the huge pressure the sector was under, as patients were prescribed several months’ supply of their medication around March and April.

The significantly increased demand came at a time when we were only able to have 50% of employees onsite and 50% working remotely due to social distancing measures, which thanks to our dedicated and hard-working employees led to minimal interruption to supply. Disruption, which looks set to impact the sector further, as more local lockdowns are enforced and the second wave of Covid-19 becomes more sustained.

For many pharmacists the same was true and it’s quite clear that they were one of many unsung heroes of the lockdown period. However, after the initial surge in demand, it is also clear that many community pharmacists have faced hugely challenging times because they were legally obliged to remain open, as people shunned towns and cities, even after the initial lockdown restrictions were lifted.

This has led to calls for more funding for the sector because many face the real prospect of closure. This despite the great debt which the country owes them, as well as other healthcare workers, for helping us all whether the initial Covid-19 storm.

As a key supplier to pharmacies we are all too aware that pharmacists are on the front line and continue to play an essential role, and have been extremely adaptable to the many process and social distancing changes Covid-19 has brought about.

I have worked in the Pharmaceuticals Sector for almost 30 years and have experienced many ups and downs. The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most serious crises the UK has ever faced, and one that the sector as a whole will have to get through by coming together.

A priority for us all is patient safety and ensuring patients receive their often life-saving medicine. This is why we do what we do, because we can make a difference and save lives. All for the public benefit.

But there is no magic wand that is going to resolve the situation quickly and even the arrival of the first vaccines may not provide the reassurance that many hope for, particularly as their effectiveness and the timings around their testing and mass production are still unclear.

Coupled with this is the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the end of the Transition Period and the potential for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on January 1st 2021.

For the sector to survive and thrive we must all plan ahead and adapt to the new reality. Community pharmacists have already begun this journey by being very adaptable and innovative, such as establishing delivery services to ensure the elderly and vulnerable receive the medicine they need, as well as embracing video technology for consultations with shielding patients.

As a supplier to pharmacies we are making big efforts to prepare for a potential severe second wave of Covid-19 this winter as well as for a ‘No Deal’ situation, such as adapting our supply chains and ensuring we are acting upon the importing and exporting advice from the Government’s UK Transition website. Another high priority for us is to work with the Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC) to ensure we are able to continue to supply our patients.

What is clear is that once all of these challenges are over, and they will eventually be over, community pharmacies will still be essential to people’s everyday lives, good health and wellbeing.

I strongly believe that pharmacies and the whole Pharma Sector have a major role to play in the nation’s recovery, and I hope once we get past the current pandemic and political changes, that the nation recognises community pharmacists, NHS, social and care workers, as the unsung heroes they truly are.

New CEO & Chairman Appointments

Dr Nik Kotecha and Tim Brady of Morningside Pharmaceuticals

Medicines manufacturer and supplier Morningside Pharmaceuticals has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman to oversee the company’s governance.

The Executive team and Group Board will be responsible for enhancing internal and external systems and processes, as well as delivering the business’ ambitious growth plans for the future.

As part of the structure changes the company’s Founder and Chief Executive for almost 30 years, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, has taken on a key strategic role for the business and become Chairman of the Board.

Tim Brady, who has extensive experience of leading Business Development and Sales & Marketing in the pharmaceuticals’ sector, has become the business’ new CEO. Tim joins newly appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) Monica Huang and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Cliff Fung, as leader of the company’s Executive team.

Morningside’s Chairman of the Board Dr Nik Kotecha OBE said: “Morningside was founded in the 1990s through an entrepreneur’s dream of making quality healthcare an affordable and accessible reality throughout the world.

“Since then we have grown from a garage start-up to one of the Midlands’ leading life sciences businesses. None of this would have been possible without our excellent people, past and present, who have made Morningside the highly successful business it is today.

“The appointment of the Executive team is a key part of our strategic plans for continuing to grow Morningside into the future. For my part, I am very much looking forward to becoming Chairman of the Board which will play a key strategic role in guiding the business’ strategy, alongside the new Executive team.

“My passion is entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow through investing in innovation, Research & Development and exporting to international markets. To help support these core areas I will continue to take on senior regional and national advisory roles. I am also immensely proud to have founded the Randal Charitable Foundation in 2017, which has an unwavering vision to save lives, help the socially disadvantaged and significantly improve the quality of life for those in need in the UK and around the world. My focus will continue to be Morningside as well as supporting these key business, community and philanthropic endeavours.”

“I would very much like to welcome Tim to Morningside, who will take the helm during this exciting new chapter in our company’s history.”

Morningside’s growth plans include launching new niche generic medicines from its Research & Development (R&D) pipeline, registering products in international territories and further growing our branded and generic medicines portfolio and market share in the UK.

The business is a leading manufacturer and supplier of quality generic and branded medicines to the United Kingdom and export markets, which includes twice daily deliveries to the NHS, hospitals and pharmacies in the UK; and supplying vital medicines and healthcare products to charities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Aid Agencies world-wide.

Introducing Tim Brady

Tim Brady joins Morningside as the business’ new Chief Executive. He has over 30 years’ experience of working in senior roles in the pharmaceuticals sector. His career has led to him building a successful pharma business from the ground up, to being a country and European executive for global life sciences businesses. More recently Tim has taken on a number of senior directorships, specialising in the areas of Business Development, Sales & Marketing, as well as International Sales.

Mr Brady, said: “Morningside is built on very solid foundations and is set for an even faster period of growth. The Leadership Team at Morningside is the best in the industry; they have proven that over the past 30 years and the challenge now is to get even better at what we do.

“All the people at Morningside are fully engaged, motivated, knowledgeable and excited about the future and this will be a hugely important advantage for us as we continue to build our reputation as a key supplier to the NHS and international markets.

“Morningside has always had an enviable product pipeline, which is going to produce some important new products in the coming months and years. An even sharper focus on speed to market for these products and stronger relations with our customers and supply chain, will mean patients and doctors will have greater choice of medicines, more quickly.”

Tim Brady started his new role at the beginning of September 2020.

BLOG: Preparing for Brexit Knowns and Unknowns

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Founder and Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals

As the post-Brexit EU trade deal negotiations continue into the Autumn, and we come to the end of the Transition Period on December 31, UK businesses must prepare. Department for International Trade (DIT) Export Champion and Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, shares his thoughts on how to be ready for every known and unknown eventuality.

As the famous quote goes ‘there are known knowns, known unknowns and also unknowns unknowns’.

This very much applies to the current Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU continue we know there are red lines on both sides, though the outcomes are still unknown.

What is clear to me and my company is that businesses must prepare for every eventuality, and start right now, if they have not done so already.

Getting started

The first question is where should you start? The best source of information if you are just beginning the process is where you can find the latest Government guidance on preparing for the end of the transition period.

For most businesses, the guidance on importing and exporting goods with the EU is particularly important.

If you can’t find the answers you need, you can also make use of an enquiry service run by the Department for International Trade. Fill in the form and one of their experts will get back to you.

Preparing our supply chain

At Morningside Pharmaceuticals, we manufacturer and supply quality generic medicines to both UK and international markets. We are actively making plans to mitigate any disruption to our import and export activities from the EU, particularly with our supply chain.

There is no import duty on ‘finished’ pharmaceutical packs, but we are concerned about disruption to our supply chains and the time taken to get products to destinations through customs.

We’re checking tariffs that may be payable under the new UK Global Tariff that will apply to goods imported from around the world, unless there’s a trade agreement in place.

One of the most important actions we took was to apply to be an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), which is an international standard accreditation given by HMRC, which shows that our supply chain is safe and secure. It also ensures that the holder may be able to benefit from arrangements under Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA), which are agreed with third country customs authorities.

To achieve this a business must submit an application to HMRC, which is then followed by an audit and inspection of the supply chain. To help prepare for the audit we carried out a gap analysis to further improve our processes, which were fully reviewed in line with the criteria. We believe that the AEO (C) & (S) Standards will keep us in good stead for not just trading with the EU, but for the rest of the world, as well.

Mitigating disruption

Another important step is to check if you should register for VAT. You must also ensure you apply for a license or certificate if you need one for the sector you work in, and make an export declaration to get goods through customs.

For importing, businesses will have to make customs declarations when importing goods from the EU. Be aware that from January 1, 2021, the rules for importing some types of goods will change. You should also make sure you have an EORI number starting with “GB”, have checked the rate of tax and duty needed to pay, and have looked at ways to make the importing process quicker.

As a responsible manufacturer and supplier of pharmaceutical products we have proactively taken action to ensure there is no disruption to the supply of medicines. An example of this includes a buffer stock of six weeks’ worth of drugs to cover any potential delays with shipping goods at the ports.

In terms of our logistics partners, most haulage providers are also taking part in Alternative Routing, which is worth exploring and may help avoid delays at Dover and Calais.

Preparing to keep exporting

All export shipments to the EU will require a customs declaration, and we’ve ensured we have an EU EORI number staring with “GB”, and if there are any licensing requirements or rules for the goods we export. For example, the rule for pharmaceuticals entering the EU is that any product that is being used in the EU, and going to an end patient there, must be released by a Qualified Person (QP) within the EU.

In the event of a No Deal, we have built contingency plans to release batches for our customers in the EU through a site in the Republic of Ireland. Having an EU base will also enable us to comply with EU regulations around pharmacovigilance and the licensing of medicines in the EU from an EU territory.

Another high priority for us as is to work with the Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC) to ensure we are able to continue to supply our patients in the UK, as well as exporting medicines to patients who need them ‘on time’, especially as the risks of a second Covid-19 wave this winter are all too apparent.

My advice to businesses would be to look at all of your known knowns and unknown knowns, and start preparing for every eventuality. This is the only way to ensure businesses are as prepared as they can be. Get started now, use the  Government’s Transition Period Advice to learn more about the action you need to take to keep trading in 2021.


Countdown’s Rachel Riley Supports Award

CSJ (Centre for Social Justice) Awards

TV’s Countdown star Rachel Riley has presented a national charity award, which was sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

The Financial Inclusion Award was revealed virtually by Rachel via video to Vineyard Compassion, and is part of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Awards 2020.

View the Video below to watch Rachel present the award.

Morningside were proud sponsors of the Financial Inclusion category and would like to congratulate Vineyard Compassion, which meets the needs of anyone in poverty in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, including food poverty, debt, worklessness, loneliness or mental ill-health.

The CSJ Awards honour the best grassroots, poverty-fighting charities and social enterprises in Britain. Six winners received a £10,000 prize, which will go towards providing their often life saving and life changing community work.

Our category winner Vineyard Compassion has helped over 5,000 people a year through a variety of services including: housing for those at risk, emergency food, clothing and household essentials to those in crisis, as well as debt counselling and money management support.

The CSJ chose the charity as the category winner because they believe that recognition of what they are achieving will open the door to further opportunities and relationships, and they wish to expand both in the quantity and quality of their services.


New Executives Welcomed

COO Monica Huang & CFO Cliff Fung

We are delighted to announce that we are growing our Board of Directors by creating two new roles as part of the business’ ambitious growth plans for the future.

The new Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) report directly into the Chief Executive and will become members of the company’s Board and Governance committees.

The business is a leading manufacturer and supplier of quality generic and branded medicines to the United Kingdom and international export markets, which includes twice daily deliveries to the NHS, hospitals and pharmacies in the UK; and supplying vital medicines and healthcare products to charities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Aid Agencies world-wide.

Morningside’s growth plans include launching new generic medicines from its Research & Development (R&D) pipeline, registering products in international export markets and further growing branded and generic medicine market share and ranges in the UK.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, said: “I am very pleased to welcome both Cliff and Monica onto the Board of Directors.

“We are beginning an exciting new chapter at Morningside, where the skills, experience and expertise of both individuals will be critical to delivering our ambitious future plans.”

Meet Morningside’s New Executives

Cliff Fung joins Morningside as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Cliff has over 25 years’ experience of working in senior finance roles within the pharmaceutical sector. He comes to Morningside from multinational pharma manufacturer and supplier Aesica Pharmaceuticals, where he was the UK Finance Director. Prior to this Cliff has worked in senior positions for PCI, Catalent and Knoll Pharma.

Cliff said: “I’m delighted to have joined Morningside Pharmaceuticals at this exciting time and I’m very much looking forward to working with my new teams, as well as the Executive Board, to take the business to the next level.

“Together with my senior managers, we plan to build on Morningside’s strengths, while overseeing and supporting the development and implementation of effective, efficient, flexible and customer focussed approaches to business support and delivery.”

Monica Huang has been promoted into the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Straight after she received her MSc degree, Monica started her career at Morningside Pharmaceuticals more than 12 years ago as an Administrator, progressing to General Manager and then Operations Director in 2017.

Throughout her career Monica has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, and guided by Morningside’s Chief Executive Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, has helped build an operational structure that has grown Morningside into one of Leicestershire’s top 100 companies today.

Monica said: “I was very fortunate to start my career with Morningside and to be part of its journey, as the company has grown into one of the Midlands’ leading pharmaceuticals businesses.

“Having worked in almost every department, I am now very much looking forward to taking on an executive position to help deliver the business’ ambitious growth plans for the future. This includes continuing to introduce new products to expand our range and delivering a high quality service, while building on strong relationships with customers and suppliers.”

Both Cliff Fung and Monica Huang started their new roles at the beginning of August 2020.

Proud to Support the Heroes Awards 2020

LeicestershireLive Heroes Awards 2020

Giving back to communities is important to us, which is why we’re proud to support the LeicestershireLive Heroes Awards each year.

This week we were once again humbled by the stories of heroism, bravery and selfless acts of kindness during the virtual judging for the 2020 awards.

The decisions of the panel are top secret but what we can tell you is that there are so many deserving nominees and winners that the task of judging the awards was harder than ever.

Morningside Pharmaceuticals is this year sponsoring the Young Hero category. Speaking about our support for the awards, our Chief Executive Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, said: “Many young people display true acts of heroism and selflessness, which have made a real difference to another person or to their communities.

“These young people are inspirations to others, and deserve to be recognised for their often life-saving stories, which is why we’re pleased to once again sponsor the Young Hero category.

“At Morningside, we’re committed to working with communities to bring them together, and improving the quality of life of the people living there.”

In it’s sixth year awards celebrate and honour the achievements of remarkable people who make Leicestershire a better place.

The virtual awards launched on Monday, March 30, 2020 and will recognise people from all walks of life that inspire with their acts of bravery, determination and selflessness.

Categories will target contributions throughout the community from good neighbours, volunteers and people integral to our wellbeing in our day to day lives.

BLOG: Brexit, What’s the State of Play?

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals

Over the past few months the UK’s focus has understandably been on managing the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. But the question of Brexit has not gone away. Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, gives his view on the negotiations.   

“It’s fair to say that society has changed as we know it.

The current Covid-19 era seems like a world away when thinking back to the political uncertainty around Brexit, at the end of 2019.

Yet despite the turmoil, which global lockdowns are causing to the UK economy and society; Brexit has not gone away, and in fact de-ja-vu seems to be creeping back in.

Once more there is a stand-off between the EU and UK negotiators, although a recent meeting between the PM and EU leaders showed some positive signs of both sides willing to compromise, in order to bridge the impasse.

However, it is also clear that little progress has been made, as the clock rapidly winds down to the December 31st deadline. For businesses, this uncertainty is not a good thing, as is the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ situation.

This is particularly true for most companies, as the benefit of time has ebbed away because of the continued delays and the enormous disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Current State of Play

So what is the current state of play with the negotiations and are both sides really as far apart as they seem?

A good place to start is to look back at the torrid history of the Brexit-saga, which has played out like a cat and mouse game between the two sides from the beginning.

At the moment it’s clear that there is little intention to compromise on the key sticking points; namely the so-called level playing field, fishing rights in UK waters, the role of the European Court of Justice and binding commitments on financial markets. The UK Government has also made it clear that there will be no full regulatory alignment with the EU after Brexit.

However, there does seem to be some movement when it comes to security cooperation, which is really the only key take-away from the latest round of negotiations.

This brings us back to the cat and mouse negotiation tactics of both sides. It was interesting to see that the UK Government has distanced itself from walking away from the negotiations in June, if a deal hasn’t been struck by then.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister is beginning to take over negotiations personally, which has produced some optimistic mood music from his EU counterparts. Perhaps this is a sign that top level talks will begin to ramp up significantly before the Autumn?

This is unsurprising, as it’s a well-publicised tactic of both sides to take negotiations to the wire, so expect more key European figures to become involved as the time-pressure intensifies.

Undoubtedly this will lead to some flexibility on both sides but whether this will be enough to satisfy the current entrenched positions in the different camps is impossible to predict. What it does tell us is that all options are still on the table, such as one overarching agreement or a framework of mini-deals.

Herein lies the olive branch for both sides, as there are clearly specific areas where there is a will to come to an agreement. Although it must be noted that no one is talking about smaller deals, as the focus at present must be on the aspiration to reach a ‘whole’ deal.

Revisiting No Deal Preparations

Throughout the Brexit process I’ve spoken to hundreds of business leaders, ranging from large corporations to local SMEs, and they all say the same thing: make sure the future EU-UK trade deal works for our economy, industries and business sectors.

As the clock winds down, businesses must once again begin to ramp-up their No Deal preparations, but are less equipped to do so, as they grapple with the huge disruption caused by the pandemic.

Take the pharmaceuticals’ sector for instance; we were requested to stockpile an extra 6 weeks’ worth of medicines during the previous Brexit deadlines in 2019, to prepare for potential short-term disruption at the borders.

Fast forward to today and these stockpiles have proven very helpful during the pandemic. However, companies may face challenges with building stock back up to the same levels, as global lockdown restrictions have caused significant disruption to supply chains. This situation may also get worse before it gets better, if the predicted second wave of the virus resurfaces in the autumn.

If there is no agreement then the so called ‘cliff edge’ scenario where the UK moves to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules will be December 31st, unless there is an extension, which the Government has currently ruled out, for now.

There may be the introduction of tariffs, disruption in the workforce, delays in the supply line and potentially aggressive competition between the two sides as laws and standards diverge. This may cause UK businesses significant challenges, and is therefore something that companies should be planning for, right now.

The good news is that this scenario is something that both sides want to avoid and there is clearly a ‘will’ to come to an agreement, particularly in certain areas.

There’s still time left, but it’s running out. Perhaps this is one thing both sides can agree on.

Covid-19 Update: Supporting Patient Care

Morningside Pharmaceuticals supplies NHS hospitals.

As a key manufacturer and distributor of medicines to the NHS, pharmacies and doctors, Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd’s has taken the necessary steps during the Covid-19 pandemic to minimise disruption to supply.

We would like to say a big thank you to all of our employees who have worked tirelessly throughout the lockdown to ensure the NHS and patients received the medicines they needed.

This involved a huge team effort from Morningside’s employees who have done an amazing job, under very challenging circumstances, to ensure orders and our obligations to supporting patient care were met.

The Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals sectors in the UK have also played an essential role by working with the Government to do all we can to help support their work in easing the crisis.

As a key supplier of essential medicines to the NHS, doctors and pharmacies Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd has worked in partnership with our industry and central government bodies to ensure the supply of high quality drugs continue to reach those who need them most.

East Midlands Charity Awards Nomination

East Midlands Charity Awards

At Morningside Pharmaceuticals we’re proud to give back to the community, which is why we’re so thrilled to be nominated for an East Midlands Charity Award!

Our mission is to make quality healthcare an affordable and accessible reality throughout the world. We try and live and breathe this vision every day, which is why we’re passionate about working with communities to bring them together and improving the quality of life of the people living there.

Each year we support a wide-range of good causes connected to sports, education, health and community.

For Sport, we are proud Named Sponsors of the 3,000 seater Morningside Arena, Leicester, the home of the UK basketball champions the Leicester Riders. As part of the agreement with the Arena charities are gifted fundraising space for free to help further their amazing work.

For Education we support a wide-range of initiatives, the largest being the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) annual Careers Speed Networking event, which is the largest of its kind in the East Midlands. The event sees 300 students from 30 local schools ‘speed network’ with 150 employers. For the past two years a group of Morningside young people have also taken part in a live Q&A session on stage to help share their top tips about joining the world of work.

For Health, we are proud supporters of the LOROS Hospice’s annual Light Up A Life remembrance service, attended by 1,000 people each December. The event is an important day for many local people, as it enables them to remember loved ones who have passed.

For Community, Morningside is a big supporter of local and national awards which celebrate the successes of people from all walks of life. The awards we sponsor include the VALL Charity Awards, Heroes of Leicestershire, Carer, Education, Leicestershire Business and Innovation awards.


Morningside Arena Named Sponsorship

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Morningside Pharmaceuticals’ naming-rights arrangement with the Leicester Arena is our most ambitious sponsorship endeavour to-date.

The 3,000 capacity in-door stadium and sports facility, which is home to UK basketball champions the Leicester Riders, has been officially renamed Morningside Arena, Leicester.

The venue also stages premium sports events like international boxing matches, comedy performances from the likes of Bill Bailey and music concerts which cater for every taste.

But for Morningside Pharmaceuticals, the arena is about far more than just having our name associated with an iconic Leicester building. We want to give back to the community, so as part of the deal we are able to offer space in the arena to charities, good causes and community groups to use free of charge.

At the naming ceremony, our Chief Executive Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, said: “We’re committed to making a difference to our local community and the arena is a superb new facility for the city, the county and for the East Midlands.

“Through this partnership, we will be able to offer the venue for one day a month to local and national community projects which will be extremely valuable to all that benefit.

“We are thrilled to be making this commitment to improve the overall experience for users of the venue, and to support the use of the arena for community and charitable activities.”

Arena Director and Leicester Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge, added: “The arena and all of its partners are absolutely delighted with this naming rights sponsorship with one of Leicestershire’s great and global firms.

“We have all been working very hard to put the Arena on the sporting and entertainment map, as a flexible high-class arena, without losing our community focus, and working with Morningside Pharmaceuticals will be hugely beneficial to our strategy.”

Leicester Arena was opened in January 2016 as part of a collaboration between the basketball club, Leicester College and Leicester City Council.