Tens of thousands of people have now died after contracting Covid-19 since the initial outbreak of the virus in the UK in January.

This growing death toll not only includes patients but the NHS staff who are working tirelessly to save them.

Sadly, this figure includes a number of pharmacy staff. Yet despite this teams continue to put themselves on the frontline and risk their lives every day to look after their patients.

We at The Pharmacist have created a tribute page for pharmacy staff who have lost their lives to the virus - for those who loved and cared for those who died to share their thoughts.

If a pharmacy colleague or loved one who worked in pharmacy has died after contracting Covid-19 and you would like a tribute to be included here, please email: [email protected]

Birender Rawat

The ‘very popular and very liked’ community pharmacist Birender Rawat, Pharmacist Manager at Pharmocare Chemist in Tottenham, died on 1st of April at the North Middlesex Hospital after catching Covid-19. 

The community pharmacist leaves behind a ‘devastated’ wife, son and daughter. 

Photo provided by Sheetal Patel

His friend set up a go fund me page in his name to raise money for a charity he ran which worked to raise funds for underprivileged school children - at time of reporting the page had raised £5,661. 

Sheetal Patel, a friend and colleague of Mr Rawat said: ‘Birender Rawat, was a big part of our lives. He was very energetic, loved by everyone, most popular, witty, fun-loving and full of life. His sudden sad demise due to Covid-19 has left a huge gap in our lives.

‘It is heartbreaking to see so many fellow professionals lose their lives.’

The people who knew him have been left ‘heartbroken’ she added. She also felt that it is important people know about his death to make sure he is ‘not just a number’.

Sudeesh Chandrasekharan, a friend of Mr Rawat said his friend, a keens sportsman, was often referred to as ‘Maradona’ because he looked so similar to the player.

‘Birender was an upbeat character,’ he said ‘with numerous mates from all walks of life.

‘After reaching England he made sure to be on top to qualify as a community pharmacist and worked at the same place for more than 15 years.

‘Will be missed by the huge group of friends he had and was adored by. I am sure he is in a better place than us now and may God give his soul peaceful rest.’

Jayesh Bhanubhai Patel

‘Much loved’ community pharmacist Jayesh Bhanubhai Patel died on the 22 April at Epsom General Hospital shortly after contracting Covid-19.

The 53-year-old locum pharmacist leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

Photo provided by Mr Patel's family

His brother-in-law, Bharat Patel, told The Pharmacist: ‘Jayesh was known amongst his family, friends, and work colleagues for his dry sense of humour. He was a humble, simple person who liked the simple things in life. He was warm, approachable and yet a man of principle.’

‘Jayesh was the youngest of five siblings. He held his parents in very high esteem and loved them dearly.’

‘A friend and a loving husband to his wife of 23 years and a dedicated father to two beautiful daughters, aged 16 and 19 years old, who were his pride and joy,’ he added.

‘Jayesh will leave a great void in the lives of many.’

Smita Patel, owner of Guildford Chemist where Jayesh had worked since 2015, told The Pharmacist that he considered Jayesh to be a ‘close friend’ as well as a colleague.

‘I can’t tell you how devastated we are. There is so much grief in my pharmacy at the moment, we’re all so upset - we’ve lost a family member,’ she said.

‘He’s going to be so deeply missed by everyone at my pharmacy. We all adored him and fussed over him. He was ever so funny and we all loved that about him, he had this dry sense of humour and could make anyone laugh.’

‘Yet he was also such a gentleman, gentle and kind in every sense, the way he spoke, the way he looked after patients, his general manner.’

‘He was such a young man - it wasn’t his time’.

Pharmacy manager at Vernons Chemist in Aldershot, Seema Patel, hired Jayesh as a locum two years ago.

She said: ‘It’s such a great loss.’

‘He was a stellar guy and a true professional who will be missed. I’m still quite shocked to be honest - it happened so suddenly, we still haven't come to terms with the way it all happened.’

‘His passing is a massive loss for pharmacy, he was so good at his job - they don’t make pharmacists like him anymore.’ Nipa Patel, a fellow pharmacist wrote on Twitter: ‘15 of us Patels started uni life at Sunderland studying pharmacy together we are heartbroken. He was the funniest and kindest person.’

Jermaine Wright

Jermaine Wright, 45, was a ‘thoughtful’ and ‘generous’ pharmacy technician and a well-known figure on the East-London football circuit who died in hospital on 27 April after contracting Covid-19. 

Photo: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Mr Wright had been working in the NHS for many years, most recently working as a senior pharmacy technician in the aseptic unit at Hammersmith Hospital. He was known by his colleagues for his ‘expertise, precision, kindness and pride in his work’.

Imperial College Healthcare Trusts' chief pharmacist Ann Mounsey described Mr Wright as someone who was ‘enormously proud of his work’.

‘Through his expertise in making and quality-checking products such as chemotherapy for our oncology and haematology patients, as well as parenteral nutrition for our premature babies, he helped save countless lives,’ she said.

In his free time, Mr Wright loved to get involved in football, particularly Sunday League pitches in north-east London.

Mr Wright was an active London FA Council Member, Secretary of the London FA North East Division, Fixtures & Referee Secretary of the Hackney & Leyton Sunday Football League and a Level 7 Referee. 

The London FA called him a ‘driving force for football in North East London’  as well as an ‘inspiration to all those who came into contact with him’.

A fundraiser in Mr Wright's memory has raised over £10,000.

Mehool H Patel

Community pharmacist Mehool H Patel, aged 48, worked at and owned Bliss Chemist in Kilburn, London, along with his two brothers Chirag and Hamansu.

He died on the 23 of April at Hammersmith hospital after contracting Covid-19.

He leaves behind his wife and his two young sons.

His close family friend Shital Patel, said he will be ‘greatly missed professionally as well as by his family.’

‘His passing is such a great loss for the profession, he was so passionate about his patients and the profession. He always made an effort to get to know patients on an individual level - he would have done anything for them,’ she said.

‘He was so bubbly, he was always smiling and joking - we will miss him so much’.

Dr Mahendra G Patel, Royal Pharmaceutical Board member, said: ‘Pharmacists like Mehool are putting their lives forward in the battle against Covid19 — on the front line of attack. We simply can’t simply find enough words to describe how much their commitment, effort and dedication means to everyone and how hugely it is valued. My deepest sympathies and condolences’.

A pharmacy colleague, who wished not to be named, also said: ‘He was a very affable person and very helpful. Patient with other people and got along well with everybody - he was a popular guy.’

Navin Shantilal Talati

Well known an award-winning Essex pharmacist, Navin Shantilal Talati, died at age 80  at The Royal London Hospital on the 18th of April after contracting coronavirus. 

Photo provided by Navin Shantilal Talati's family

His son, Dr Minesh Talati, told the Pharmacist his father will be ‘greatly missed and remembered by many in the community’. 

'He was the most generous and kind-spirited individual, always putting others first', he added.

According to his family, Mr Talati was a devoted cricket fan. He attended every opening first-day test match at Lord’s in the summer- not missing a single game for 10 years.

Mr Talati served Dagenham community for 35 years after opening his own pharmacy, Talati Chemist in 1977.

It was the first pharmacy in Essex to open seven days a week and to offer home delivery to the elderly. 

In 1982 the pharmacist redesigned blister packaging to make it easier for nursing homes to administer medications, this reduced administration errors when

He went on to be named Essex Pharmacist of the year in 1987 and 1991. In 2006 the group he co founded - Malmin Healthcare, was recognised as the best design and brand at the Private Dentistry Awards 2019.

Pooja Sharma

Hospital pharmacist at Eastbourne District General Hospital Pooja Sharma died on 26 March after both her and her father contracted coronavirus.

Pooja’s older brother Aman said his sister was the ‘superstar’ of the family.

‘Her irresistible laugh, sense of humour and good nature would light up our world and fill it with colours. For this I am eternally grateful that Pooja was my sister,’ he added.

Simon Badcott, Chief Pharmacist at Eastbourne District General Hospital said: ‘We were devastated to hear about the death of Pooja Sharma. Pooja was a much loved and respected part of our Pharmacy family. It was a privilege to call her a colleague – she will be missed terribly, especially her enthusiasm and sense of humour.

'I know Pooja’s death will affect her colleagues and friends at the Trust enormously at what is already a very difficult and challenging time and we are providing emotional support. Our thoughts are with Pooja’s family and loved ones at this very difficult time.’

Jonathon Palmer, Clinical Pharmacy Manager at Eastbourne District General Hospital spoke fondly of his fellow pharmacist: ‘Pooja was a really special person who wore her heart on her sleeve. Speaking to others it is clear that her honesty, liveliness, loving sense of humour and bubbly personality touched us all. She will be sorely missed as a friend and work colleague.’

Shashikant Parekh 

Shashikant Parekh, was a pharmacy cashier at Medichem Pharmacy in East London who died at age 82 at St Thomas' Hospital in London after contracting Covid-19.

He leaves behind his children and four grandchildren.

Photo provided by Mr Parekh's family

The 'much loved' and 'highly respected' Shashikant had been working in the pharmacy for over 20 years, with his son Mayur Parekh, a qualified pharmacist.

He was often called 'uncle' by those who knew him.

'He'd been working in the pharmacy for such a long time, many children had even grown up with him,' Mayur told the Pharmacist.

He was known for his 'infectious smile' and the way he would go above and beyond for patients.

'He is missed by everyone,' his son added.