PillPacPlus is a pharmacy automation business based in Ballymena Co Antrim Northern Ireland.
PillPacPlus was established in 2014 and is managed by three pharmacists with over 60 years’
experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Stephen Burns, Gillian Gracey and Lindsay Gracey own
the company and have been running successful pharmacies in Belfast and Ballymena for over 20
years. Currently forty people are employed to run the pharmacies, eleven of whom are dedicated to
PillPacPlus. We had sought to identify areas of our business where efficiency and safety were
concerns, the key area identified was the manual filling of MDS trays to support compliance amongst
our community patients and their carers. Realising the traditional methods for medication
dispensing was not up to the quality that our patients deserved led us to research solutions in use, in
other European countries and eventually we moved forward with a pouch dispensing system.
We pioneered this type of technology in the UK, as pharmacists having tried and tested the
technology at our own pharmacy sites and seen the benefits to our patients and our business, we
developed PillPacPlus to support other pharmacies to replicate this model. As pharmacists our
priority has always been patient safety and at PillPacPlus our priority is supporting other pharmacies
to promote patient safety and at the same time grow their business through the use of innovative
and cost-effective technologies.
As a company we have a team with a wide range of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and
pharmacy. We have been working in partnership with independent pharmacies, large multiples,
hospital pharmacies and most recently prison pharmacy. This has been very rewarding as what we
see are very different levels of need and the opportunity to tailor a bespoke solution to meet our
To date PillPacPlus have sold a total of forty-eight dispensing robots and in 2018 alone have gained
excellent growth and have and sold twenty PillPacPlus robots to pharmacies across Ireland. We have
been very careful to keep to a local geography so far as we have endeavoured to work closely with
our partners and to create and test a model which we believe can be replicated now in other
geographical areas. 2018 has seen the development and growth of our software team and expertise
to develop solutions to support community and nursing home care with information technology.
In 2019 we have plans to promote our solution in Scotland and to increase our robot sales in Ireland
paying attention to the Republic of Ireland. We have plans to double our sales in 2019.
The PillPacPlus team
Our team have a wide range of expertise, from sales, to business development, service,
maintenance, installation, workflow support, software development, training and marketing.
We have developed the capability to provide support and training at any pharmacy site or in our
central hub based in Ballymena. After install and training we continue to support remotely and by
For specific project opportunities we support with a bespoke installation and training package with
follow up care if required. We have experience in this area as we have supported a hospital install in
the biggest NHS trust in Ireland and we are currently in the process of supporting the prison service
in Northern Ireland with a tender for robotic dispensing installation.
As a team we are dedicated to meet the needs and requirements of our all potential customers and
Stephen Burns – PillPacPlus Director of Sales
Gillian Gracey – PillPacPlus Director of Installation and Training Provision
Lindsay Gracey – PillPacPlus Director of Customer Care
Anne Clarke – PillPacPlus Business Development Sales Manager
Kathyrn Kane – PillPacPlus Pharmacist lead at Central Pharmacy
David Gracey – PillPacPlus Engineer and Lead for all Installations
Willie Rice – PillPacPlus Maintenance Technician
Neil Montgomery – PillPacPlus Lead for Innovation and Technology
Shannon Martin -PillPacPlus Pharmacy technician at Central Pharmacy
Francisco Martinez – PillPacPlus Pharmacy technician and lead for drug cannister calibration
Sarah Ramsey – PillPacPlus Nurse and Lead for Service Development
PillPacPlus Customer Focus
The key pharmacy priority for medication sachet dispensing is focused on improving health
outcomes for patients in ever more cost-effective ways.
The PillPacPlus mission is to help improve patients’ lives in the community by helping our pharmacy
colleagues to safely and economically implement the medical technology.
Today, delivering healthcare innovation is more challenging and complex than ever. It demands a
sharp focus on what customers need. It requires the development and delivery of data, knowledge
and products that make a difference.
PillPacPlus is now recognised within Ireland for its expertise in robotic technology for sachet
medication dispensing, its pharmacy experience and track record for a responsive, high quality
The PillPacPlus network across Northern Ireland supports now over sixty nursing homes and this is
an area of health care who have embraced the PillPacPlus medicine dispensing system as it
improves the quality and safety of care given by staff administering medicines in the care home
Benefits for Patients of PillPacPlus sachets
Tablets can be dispensed in single or multi dose sachets
The sachets are easier to read easier to carry and easier to take medicines
No limit to the number of doses
Medication reminders for weekly drugs and non PillPacPlus medicines such as inhaler
Patient and Carers prefer the sachets over trays
Benefits for the Pharmacy
A weekly supply of medicine can be packed in under a minute
Automated sachets reduce the risk of medication errors
Minimises time consuming labour and improves work place efficiency
Increases the pharmacist time to consult with the patient.
What Makes PillPacPlus Different from other providers?
Delivering solutions that are fit-for-purpose: PillPacPlus provides the most innovative solutions which are best suited to your pharmacy needs, we offer you a dedicated team of specialists serving you in analysing your problem/need, developing the scope, designing the solution and managing the project execution.
We are in the unique position to share best practice and expert knowledge with all pharmacy colleagues anywhere in the world as we operate a successful automated medication sachet service in our central pharmacy in Ballymena Co Antrim. We believe the manual filling of Monitored Dosage system trays are both time consuming and labour intensive and owning a PillPacPlus robot can be cost effective in terms of time and staff costs to the pharmacy.
Pharmacies choose a PillPacPlus solution because they trust the fact that we are a dedicated pharmacy service that understand the workload and pressures of a pharmacy. We know every aspect of the robot technology, share all our standard operation procedures and we know how to make the pharmacy even more successful and competitive within its own environment.
The growth we have achieved with medicine sachet business has also supported the growth of new walk in patients choosing to come to a PillPacPlus pharmacy over another competitor. Using robotic technology is influencing patients to choose a PillPacPus pharmacy. Pharmacists trust PillPacPlus because we have the same goals in mind.
Feedback from some of our PillPacPlus pharmacy providers in Ireland
James McKenna, Pharmacist – Clogher Pharmacy, Co. Tyrone
We were providing a pharmacy service to nursing homes which were operating a time consuming venalink system for medicine administration which was in our opinion was outdated.
From a nursing home perspective, we believe PillPacPlus is providing a more professional, safer, quality product and one which is very adaptable and versatile to suit the varying needs of different types of service users in care settings. Feedback from the care homes would suggest the nursing administration round has reduced by as much as 75% in some cases which has supported significant increase in time for nurses to provide additional nursing care.
William Wylie, Pharmacy Owner – Comber Pharmacy, Co. Down
We were inundated with requests for medicine compliance aids and the solution was either to hire more staff or invest in new technology. I had recruited more technicians to support the provision of compliance aids but this was not the most cost effective option due to rising staff costs and pressures. PillPacPlus has provided me with a unique service which made me distinct from my other pharmacy competitors in Comber and the surrounding areas.
I would advise to be prepared to spend 10% of the robot purchase price on PillPacPlus local advertising as this will pay dividends in terms of new business in the pharmacy setting.
Michael Cooper, Pharmacist – Coopers Pharmacy, Belfast
At Coopers we found the production of trays a very labour-intensive process with no method to audit safety for our patients and this was an ongoing concern. With PillPacPlus we can deliver a safer and more convenient compliance service to our existing patients and support new patients without compromising on safety or having to incur additional staffing costs.
PillPacPlus supported us in reaching our goals and having a local company that can provide installation, training, maintenance and marketing expertise on your doorstep is an invaluable resource and has been key to us reaching our growth targets.
Investing in the PillPacPlus robot has not only allowed us to grow our pharmacy business but it delivers tangible benefits to the everyday lives of our patients and their carers.
Siobhan Rogers, Pharmacist and Owner – Costigan’s Pharmacy, Tipperary
We found over the past couple of years that our dispensary was becoming clogged up with blister packs waiting to be filled, being filled and waiting to be checked. There is a very real need for
monitored dosage systems in the community and despite the cost involved in providing the service; it is hard to refuse it to patients and carers who would benefit from it. I researched
several types of sachet system at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham and I met the PillPacPlus team at the United Drug show in Dublin. They recommended I visit a pharmacy where the robot was already installed. When I did, I was struck by how positive the pharmacist and particularly the technicians were about the system.
Since we installed the robot in our pharmacy the workflow in the dispensary has changed dramatically. Time spent by our technicians on weekly dispensing has halved. The pharmacists find the packs much easier and quicker to check. I would have no hesitation in recommending the PillPacPlus system to other community pharmacists. I can honestly say that I am very happy with the hardware, software and support from the PillPacPlus team, the entire teamfeels that we could never go back to the old system.
Contact PillPacPlus for further Information
Unit 9 ,20 Antrim Road Ballymena
Co Antrim Northern Ireland BT42 2BJ
Telephone +44(0)28 25657856