I was both shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Kirit Patel, a fine man whose personality was woven into the tapestry of our profession for over 40 years and who was one of pharmacy’s most vibrant, charismatic and brilliant characters.
Over several years I had the privilege to work with Kirit on various advisory panels, conferences, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), where I got to know him better when he was elected treasurer at the start of the millennia. It was a challenging time as we were fighting for clinical status and prescribing rights, thinking about our digital platforms, developing the profession’s first workforce strategy and starting to hear rumblings of government takeover plans for the RPSGB under the guise of modernisation. We were also connected through his brother-in-law, Jayesh Patel, who was great friends with my brother and me at secondary school in Ewell.
Never was there a more shrewd judge of character or anyone better at spotting a fake at a hundred paces than Kirit. He was fearless in the pursuit of truth and any cause in which he believed. And there was no belief he held that he did not advocate with passion, commitment and brilliance.
The more I knew, the more I saw, and the more I realised he was more than just a Titan of business and pharmacy royalty; he was a one-off and if anyone’s life could be measured in deeds not years then he had it all. Business success aside, he never lost touch with professionalism or the human side of his staff and he remained one of nature’s genuine gentlemen. He was an exceptional man who inspired generations, was deeply admired and respected and who discussed the future, aware of the fact he had already made history.
He was passionate about everything in his life – family, friends, country and his career – and treated everyone as an equal. Looking back, what struck me as truly inspirational was how a man who had experienced so much personal grief and loss in the early years, and who witnessed man’s inhumanity in Uganda, could continue to believe that people are good.
The only fly in the proverbial ointment was his stubborn love for Liverpool FC, proving that nobody’s perfect and that success in business doesn’t always correlate well into the fine art of sports!
Big life – big loss, and although there will never be another one like him, I know he would prefer to be remembered with smiles and celebration rather than sadness and tears because wherever he went he spread joy and he always had people laughing around him.
Kirit was larger than life, an extraordinary, compelling and colourful person whom it was a privilege to know and work with. My deepest condolences to his wife Nalini, and all his family and friends.