Bharat Shah CBE founded Sigma Pharmaceuticals in 1982

Sigma Pharmaceuticals founder and CEO Bharat Shah has been appointed a CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Mr Shah, who founded leading pharmacy wholesaler Sigma Pharmaceuticals from the back of his chemist shop in Watford in 1982, received the award for ‘services to business, economic growth, exporting, independent pharmacy sector and philanthropy.’

“I am truly humbled by this honour and have been left completely speechless,” Mr Shah told Pharmacy Business.

“This has just come out of the blue and has really taken me aback. I feel hugely honoured to be in the company of such incredible men and women who have accomplished such great things for our country. It’s so humbling and has made me feel very emotional,” he said.

The honour crowns a long and a distinguished career in the pharmacy profession for Mr Shah. A highly respected entrepreneur, he has been a passionate advocate for community pharmacy, helping the sector raise standards and campaigning for the profession to become an integral part of the enlarged NHS.

Over the last decade Sigma Pharmaceuticals has hosted an annual overseas conference bringing together community pharmacists, manufacturers and pharmacy officials to debate and share key insights from the pharma industry. The conference is now one of the major events in the pharmacy calendar regularly attended by over 350 delegates.

Bharat Shah came to the UK from Kenya in the early 1970s. After graduating with a first class degree in pharmacy from the University of Bath, he opened his first pharmacy in 1975.

He ventured into wholesaling a few years later and today Sigma is the largest independent shortline wholesaler in the country with a turnover in excess of £250m. The company now operates from a state-of-the-art fully automated facility in Watford employing over 400 people and supplying 3,000 pharmacies nationally.

The business is run by Bharat, his brothers Manish and Kamal and their children Hatul, Rajiv, Bhavin and Paras who have now embarked on an ambitious growth strategy.

Team Sigma: Bharat Shah (first left) with Sigma management team

Mr Shah dedicated his award to his wife, family and staff, adding; ‘to recognised for my work in this manner is a real testament to the commitment and dedication of my wife, my family and our staff, without whom this achievement would not be possible.’

A distinguished fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, Mr Shah and his family are generous benefactors to many charities in the UK and abroad.

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