|Full Name Raj K Aggarwal|
Name Raj Aggarwal
Website Company Website
|Partner(s) Mrs Usha Aggarwal|
Education Bath College
|Born 28 April 1949 (age 66) (1949-04-28) Nairobi, Kenya, Africa|
Occupation Businessman, Pharmacist, Public Health Expert, President of the Consular Association for Wales and Indian Honorary Consul for Wales
Children Rakesh Aggarwal, Ashu Aggarwal
Raj K Aggarwal OBE, (born 1949), is an Anglo-Indian pharmacist, public health expert, businessman and the first ever Honorary Consul for India with jurisdiction for Wales. In this role, he is responsible for helping to further links between Welsh and Indian business, educational establishments and cultural organisations, as well as looking after the needs of Indian nationals living and working in Wales. In March 2015, he was appointed president of the Consular Association of Wales.
- Early Days
- Advocate for Community Pharmacies
- Charity and Community Work
- Honorary Consul for India
- Appointments and honours
- Personal life
As chairman of Kidney Wales Foundation, Aggarwal has been campaigning and providing evidence since 2007 for a deemed consent or 'soft opt out' to increase the number of organs available for transplantation and save lives. The Human Transplantation Wales Act received Royal Assent on 10 September 2013. The law will come fully into effect on 1 December 2015.
He has been a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain since 1973, appointed a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in November 2013. In June 2007, Aggarwal was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and the life of the Asian community in Wales. Roy Thomas, chief Executive of the Kidney Wales charity, told the Western Mail: "He is a very modest man but the honour is more than deserved. He has promoted the need for diversity in business. The Welsh and Asian communities should be proud of him and what he has achieved."
He is a lay member of the Governing Body of Cardiff University and a Board Member of the Wales Millennium Centre. In October 2011, Aggarwal was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for South Glamorgan. As well as English, he speaks Swahili, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu.
Aggarwal was educated at the Duke of Gloucester Grammar School in Nairobi, Kenya, before his family emigrated to Wales in 1967. He studied A-Levels at Bath College, Somerset, from 1967-1969, then won a place at the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University from 1969-1972. He graduated with a B.Pharms (Hons) 2.1 in Pharmacology and joined Boots UK as a graduate trainee. He rose to become one of the company's youngest-ever regional managers, looking after high-profile stores including Oxford Street, London.
On a social visit to Cardiff in 1982, he was introduced to a pharmacy on City Road and decided that he would rather run his own business rather than work for someone else. Resigning from Boots, he bought this first shop. Over the next decade, Aggarwal built up a chain of six pharmacies, and a significant business, in and around Cardiff. In 2008 Central Pharmacy, which Aggarwal still owns and operates, was awarded the Best in UK Clarins Gold Salons Award. He believes the key to good business is in customer service, telling Pharmacy Business (9 March 2011): "I enjoy what I do. I have a lot of happiness in what we achieve. I've always had a strong head for business and I enjoy leadership and keeping customer service levels high. We want to make customers feel how we would want to feel."
In 2010 Aggarwal was named UK 2010 Pharmacy Business Entrepreneur of the Year. The award was presented by then Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley MP.
Advocate for Community Pharmacies
Aggarwal has been a staunch advocate of the benefits of community pharmacies and the support and advice they can provide to patients.
In November 2009, he wrote: "The community pharmacy network in Wales is made up of more than 700 pharmacies, ranging from the small independent pharmacy to the larger branches of well-known chains. They are located where people work, shop and live and to many they are the most accessible part of the health service. We are all aware of the role the pharmacy plays in providing patients with 60 million-plus prescription medicines every year. But, over the years, more and more people have been recognising community pharmacies as sources of help and advice – particularly about how to lead a healthier lifestyle – and a provider of health checks."
He has also written about the high cost to the public purse for wasted prescription medicines in Wales - that "costs the NHS an estimated £50million a year; enough to fund 350 nurses, 200 hip operations and more than 1,000 coronary bypass operations" - and urged health officials to place more trust in pharmacists, writing: "Wales has the highest prescribing rate per head of population in the UK – 22 items compared to 16 in England – meaning this is a serious issue for the Assembly Government to sort out. There are more than 700 pharmacies across Wales situated where people work, shop and live. The pharmacists working in these businesses are at the heart of decisions about the prescription and dispensing of medicines. They daily interface with prescribers, practice managers, care-home managers and patients and there is not a day that goes by when they do not identify issues which can result in ineffective or inappropriate use of medicines."
He is also an advocate of free prescriptions, writing os the "inherent inequity" of the exemption system for prescription charges.
He is Board Member of the National Pharmacy Association and of Community Pharmacy Wales [Chairman, South East Region]. He is also a Welsh Government-appointed advisor on various Health and Pharmaceutical Committees, formal member of the Ministerial Pharmacy Strategic Delivery Group, and a Board member of Bro-Taf Drug and Therapeutics Committee.
In May 2011 he was presented with the "Outstanding Contribution to Pharmacy" award by Community Pharmacy Wales, acknowledging his contribution to Welsh Pharmacy and to his tireless work within the charity sector.
Charity and Community Work
Aggarwal has been Chairman (since 2007) and a trustee (since 2002) of the Kidney Wales Foundation. In June 2011 he was appointed as a Trustee of the Wales Millennium Centre. He was a fundraising committee member of the George Thomas Hospice, that provides specialist home-based nursing and practical advice, emotional and spiritual support, medical equipment, therapies and treatments for cancer patients.
Honorary Consul for India
Aggarwal has been a staunch advocate for increasing business links between Wales and other nations, especially India. India is the UK’s fourth largest inward investor, creating 5,889 jobs over the past year. It accounts for around 6% of exports from Wales, worth around £100m. According to the Assembly Government there are more than 2,000 Indian students at Welsh universities. Taking part in a US-Indian-Welsh business symposium in March 2011, Aggarwal said: "Ensuring a commercial link with India and continued investment relations is essential if Wales is to grow on the international stage."
In September 2012, Aggarwal was appointed to the role by India’s High Commissioner Dr Jaimini Bhagwati during a ceremony at Cardiff’s India Centre. Talking to the South Wales Echo, Aggarwal: "This is a special privilege that I and my family will always cherish. Wales is a dynamic small country and stronger links with the rising superpower that is India will be vital to its future prosperity. I’ll work tirelessly to build a deeper engagement between the two countries to which I and many Welsh people owe their allegiance." .
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said of the appointment: "Raj isn’t only a personal friend to me but also to Wales. He’s been a tireless advocate for promoting our country as a place to invest and do business and travelled with me to India earlier this year to highlight what we have to offer to Indian companies. I know his appointment as Honorary Consul to Wales will be of great pride to him and I am sure he will do an excellent job."
In March 2015, at the organisation's Annual General Meeting, Aggarwal was appointed president of the Consular Association of Wales. The role involves working closely with the UK Government, the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government. Aggarwal told Wales Online: "I hope to show all the amazing strengths and fantastic attributes of Wales and its people, its commerce, education, tourism and cultural endeavours."
Appointments and honours
Aggarwal lives in Cardiff, with his wife Usha. He has four brothers, two of whom work in public health, and three sisters, one of whom is also a pharmacist. His son Rakesh Aggarwal is the founder of one of Britain's leading online beauty retailers, Escentual.com.