Sorbi Khattak

Pharmacist, Twyford GP Surgery, Winchester, Hampshire
Sorbi Khattak

After graduating as a pharmacist in 2019, Sorbi Khattak started to grow her portfolio career, working in the community and general practice, as well as co-founding a digital pharmacy-led skincare advice platform. 

“I would love to have a career which touches every aspect of pharmacy in the best of my capacity,” she says. “Pharmacy is just changing all the time. You have so many different roles that are constantly expanding. I don’t want to limit myself to one area.” 

We had multiple nominations describing Khattak as hard-working and going above and beyond to give back to other young women. While studying at University College London (UCL), she organised networking events and conferences to bring students from different disciplines together and learn. She is now on the Early Career Group advisory panel at UCL, using her experience to advise on the new five-year MPharm degree curriculum. 

Khattak also frequently visits her old school in Portsmouth, Hampshire, to talk to girls about choosing STEM subjects and careers. “We didn’t have pharmacists coming to speak when I was studying at school. It was lovely to go back and say, actually, I was in your position not too long ago, and I’ve done this.” 

What Khattak loves about pharmacy is that she’s constantly learning and trying new things. Initially, she thought she would go into research, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic, in which she worked in community pharmacy, that changed her plans. 

The mental aspects were really, really challenging but I’m grateful for that experience

At that time, Khattak was very new to pharmacy and not able to see her family because of the risks, but she realised how much she loved working with patients and ended up the responsible pharmacist in a team of eight as a provisionally registered pharmacist at Boots. 

“The mental aspects were really, really challenging but I’m grateful for that experience. I live with my elderly father, so every day I was terrified I was going to bring something home to him. I had to think ‘OK I’m going to complete my training and I’m going to turn up’, but it was a character-building time.” 

During her training, she did a project with the LifeHouse charity in Portsmouth, creating packages for homeless communities. The experience stuck with her so much that she still works with them closely. 

Khattak’s current job as a primary care network clinical pharmacist means working closely with patients to optimise medications. She is currently conducting audits of dual antiplatelet prescribing and her next target is greater sustainability of inhalers. At the same time, she is building her skincare projects, along with doing courses in dermatology and an independent prescribing qualification. 

She launched the consultancy Skincare Scientists with a university friend; it is in the early days but provides guidance through blogs and social media for skin conditions that can be treated with over-the-counter products. “Together, we’re amalgamating our knowledge and experience, and giving pharmacist-led advice.” 

Issues related to skin are so commonplace when you’re working in community pharmacy, she says, and she would love to sub-specialise in dermatology in the future, where she believes there is a real clinical need.  

Khattak is also UK ambassador for Business & Dreams, an international network set up to empower female entrepreneurs. Khattak has hosted two sold-out events and is about to run a third. “It’s just amazing because you have so many different professional women coming together from different industries, such as ‘fintech’ [technology in finance], and I’ve got a mentor in public speaking because that’s an area I realised that I wasn’t as good at.” 

One message that has stuck with her is a TED talk from one of the founders of Business & Dreams, about why you shouldn’t be a ‘good’ girl. “It’s important to take that message and go against the crowd, you don’t always have to be perfect and that’s OK.” 

  • This article was amended on 16 May 2023

Panel comments 

“Someone who likes to look at things differently” 

“A clear role model already” 

Meet the rest of The Pharmaceutical Journal’s Women to Watch 2022 here

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, December 2022, Vol 309, No 7968;309(7968)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.165966

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