At the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) annual general meeting (AGM) in London on 22 June 2016, RPS treasurer Sid Dajani and finance director Simon Redman said the Society’s revenues have been building strength over the past six years.
Despite a busy financial year, primarily as a result of the Society’s move to East Smithfield in Wapping, London, Redman reported a significantly stronger balance sheet and reduced building runnings costs of £400,000 per year.
In the 2015 financial year, the RPS forecasted losses of £1.4m but ended the year with losses of £1.1m. The sale of its old headquarters in Lambeth along with Bell House (a building down the road from the Lambeth building that housed additional RPS offices) resulted in profits of £11.7m, much of which has been reinvested in the new building in Wapping. A re-evaluation of RPS’s assets, including the museum and library collections; the Society flat (which was originally bought for the president’s use but is now currently rented out to private tenants); and the newly refurbished offices at East Smithfield, produced a £5.9 million revaluation surplus in the accounts. As a result, there was a £15.8m increase in the Society’s net assets in 2015 and a £2.8m net increase in its cash reserves.
Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Redman revealed to the AGM that the cost of delivering member benefits in 2015 exceeded the Society’s income, meaning that significant adjustments will need to be made if it is to deliver a future profit. “We are continually reviewing the way we are organised to ensure that we spend our resources on supplying products and services people actually want,” said Redman.
Pharmaceutical Press, the publishing arm of the RPS that publishes MedicinesComplete, British National Formulary (BNF), The Pharmaceutical Journal and Clinical Pharmacist, among others, is essential to the performance of the organisation and continued its success in 2015. “There has been a 50% growth in digital sales [within Pharmaceutical Press] over the past three years,” explained Redman. “It’s been a busy three years investing in new technologies and the RPS has recognised the need to develop digital products to sit alongside the printed publications,” he said, adding that international sales of digital pharmaceutical products are growing, as well as an international interest in the Faculty and Foundation programmes.
The new BNF contract with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (a national contract to supply the BNF to the NHS) will also ensure a sustained future for the organisation, he said.
“One of the tests for a membership organisation is [making sure] that people want to join it,” said Redman, referring to the 5.4% growth in core membership categories across England, Scotland and Wales, highlighted in the 2015 RPS annual review.
“Our predictions for 2016: we’re looking at about 3.5% growth. The market has been growing as well; in 2015 we grew ahead of the market and in 2016 we expect to shadow the market growth.” The new RPS website, which will be interactive for members, is currently being developed and is due to be launched at beginning of 2017.
Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Dajani, who will retire from his role of treasurer at the next Assembly meeting on 19 July 2016, added: “We continue to invest heavily in our staff, the backbone of this great organisation, we also continue to invest in publications, in digital products and platforms and look at other revenue streams to build them up.
“To do that we need to grow our membership, the lifeblood of our organisation. We also need to increase the sales of Pharmaceutical Press and ensure that we increase the status and influence of our members, profession and society.”