Free Sanitiser to the Community
27 Mar 2020
Due to popular demand, we've made thousands more FREE Medik8 hand sanitisers!
Are you a vulnerable group who would like an allocation?
“Medik8 makes 4000 free bottles of hand sanitiser for the elderly, homeless and the Police”
Reproducing a press interview with Medik8 founder Elliot Isaacs
Tell us about your sanitiser....
Our “Medik8 Hygienic Hand Rub” is an 80% ethanol, non-drying hand sanitiser fluid made precisely according to published WHO guidelines and method. It is a novel formula that is liquid and not gel so it spreads easily, gets into nail cuticles, crevices and dries in seconds with no stickiness.
Why are you making it?
Originally, back at the beginning of March, we made our own formula for our staff when we could not buy sanitiser in the shops, and the project developed from there. When the call went out for ventilators and we saw what was happening in Italy we thought what can we do to help. Our head of research said, ”We can’t make ventilators, but we can make sanitiser”. This virus is seeking to harm our neighbours, friends and family. We all have a part to play in stopping it. We can make as much as the government wants provided we have raw materials and componentry. We have made do with the components we had in stock. It may not be our prettiest packaging but it is high quality and fully complies with the official WHO formulation. To produce more we are looking for a sponsor to share the cost and have set up a GoFundMe page.
Who are you and why now?
We are Pangaea Laboratories, the British company behind Medik8, the popular indie-brand of professional skin care. We started in a shed 20 years ago. Two scientist brothers, the sons of a community pharmacist in Barnet. We now employ 120 people. We have a 10,000 sq. ft laboratory facility and 30,000 sq ft. ISO-certified warehouse and production site. Before this crisis, we were growing at a tremendous pace and taking on the world. After two weeks of 16 hour days, making the temporary adjustments required to keep 100% of our colleagues' jobs safe, we can now turn our skills and capabilities to helping the community. May I take this opportunity to thank my management team for taking a 20% voluntary pay sacrifice for 3 months, while still working, to help support all jobs across the business.
How are you making it?
This formula has been given to us essentially under an ‘open-source licence’ by the WHO. We have followed this precisely so that the exact WHO formula has been reproduced in our labs. We had all the raw materials and machinery to start manufacturing immediately. We have the first batch ready now.
How much does it cost?
Free. Our cost price is 0.71p per 30ml. Other costs such as the factory opening are just part of our losses at this time. We are donating all 4000 bottles for free to the community. We are going to give to care homes anywhere in the UK, and to the Salvation Army and other shelters to give out to homeless people. I have reserved 500 bottles to hand deliver (leaving at their door) with volunteers to elderly neighbours who cannot get any sanitiser in their local pharmacy. The personal sized bottle makes it perfect for staff and patients to keep handy about their person and supplements any large bottles they have in communal areas.
How is this formula different from others?
Aside from the remarkable non-drying characteristics, the main difference is it is not a gel. Instead a free-flowing fluid that we think is much more preferable. No gluppiness and it is easy for the formula to seep into every skin fold and crevice on the hand. It dries in seconds and there is no stickiness. It is a fab formula.
How is this tested?
Unlike most British cosmetic brands, we do all our formula development and production in house. We are ISO certified meaning we have all the skills and capabilities including regulatory compliance within our workforce. The product follows the exact formula and method mandated by the WHO which acts as assurance of efficacy. It is presented as a cosmetic rub to accelerate speed to market. For testing skin compatibility, we have been using the product amongst our 120 staff for 3 weeks and feedback is exceptionally good. There is no irritation at all, and the formula is surprisingly moisturising due to the use of glycerin humectants. Our regulatory compliance officer has approved the label for warnings and regulation in record time.
What challenges have you had?
Usually when making cosmetics, formula development is the hard bit. But this time, we have a complete formula and method provided to us by the WHO. The difficult part was getting the raw materials, license and componentry. We already use ethanol in one of our products so we diverted production into the sanitiser while awaiting fresh supplies which are under intense demand from other companies. All manufacturers must have a government license for alcohol use, for excise purposes. This limits how much any company can produce. I believe our license is for 6000 litres per year. We have applied to the government department for this to be increased. While waiting for their approval (we are sure they are incredibly busy), we have stopped production of all our other alcohol-based formulations to ensure we have the capacity to produce sanitiser and staying within the regulations. Componentry has been a surprising challenge. Bottles, caps etc. are in very short supply. We even have bottle suppliers calling us to buy back any stocks we have. The purple cap on the sanitiser is part safety precaution to visually highlight this product as containing 80% alcohol and also because this was a cap we had in stock at the right fitment specs and at sufficient quantities.
[UPDATE: 27th March. The government has just increased our license to 12,000 litres]
So you have staff in place working?
Yes. Most of our staff have been furloughed or working from home. But we have left a trusted skeleton crew in place at the production / warehouse facility with one manager, under strict social distancing measures.
What measures are you taking to keep staff safe?
We only have 5 trusted people in a 30,000 sq ft warehouse (think football pitch size). After intensive training, personally given by the Operations Director, all staff must remain 3m apart at all times. They are wearing disposable medical gloves, hairnets, overshoes and avoiding touching their face and surfaces. All staff are driving into work alone, so no public transport is used. 3 members of staff are doing the production and 2 members of staff are coordinating the logistics. A director of the company will deliver boxes by car alone to doorsteps, taking all sensible precautions, as part of essential work at this time.
Can customers get any?
Actually yes. We are making 5000 in our first batch and 1000 are reserved for placing free into every online order we receive.
Do you plan to produce sanitiser in the future?
Yes. We think we will. Not in the current make-do packaging but in a sleeker presentation. And it will be priced to be very affordable for our clients. We see a future where hand sanitiser and associated hand cream as a cloakroom toilet essential rather than a clinical product under the kitchen sink. And it will be a staple for all beauty therapists and beauty clinic receptions whom we supply.
Will you give away more once the 5000 have depleted?
That’s the plan. We are gearing up for a huge batch for 50,000 bottles. We are looking for a co-sponsor (perhaps a large company that has not been hit too hard by the crisis) to help with the cost of ethanol and bottles. We will put their logo on the label. The only constraint is the packaging. We are calling up all suppliers as we speak. We will update our blog or Instagram when there is more news. This batch will be distributed nationwide.
Help split the cost. Would you like to donate to our GoFundMe. Thank you.
Do you know a care home or homeless shelter anywhere in the UK that needs sanitiser?
Ask them to fill in this quick request form and we'll get it over asap. While stocks last.
Update 3rd April 2020
BREAKING: ALL 4000 SANITISERS HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING!
After many long days (and nights!), all 4000 free hand sanitisers have finally made their way to numerous well-deserving care homes, homeless shelters and vulnerable groups across the UK. We are cream-crackered! Couriers have been sent to St Luke’s Hospice, Greenhill Care Home, St George’s Hospital, Herts Community Trust, Michael Sobell Hospice and Wirral’s Homeless CIC to mention just a few. We’ve also personally delivered to the Salvation Army and reached out to many carers, teachers, doctors, nurses and NHS wards as well. While we can’t accept any more requests for this current batch, please continue to ask charities to nominate themselves via the form above. They will all be added automatically to the list for the 50,000 more we are making and despatching for free. YES! We did it!
50,000 IN PROGRESS
We were hoping to find 2 sponsors to fund 50% of the cost with Medik8 paying 50%. We have had a tremendous response, but understandably many large corporations are taking too long and we have to order now or we will lose our bottle production slot. We can announce that we have 1 amazing sponsor that has stepped up to provide a generous donation to help fund with us the manufacture of 50k more free bottles. So we have 25% of the cost covered and we are very grateful to them. More on them in the coming days. But to keep our project moving forward, Elliot, our kind founder, has said Medik8 will put up the rest of the money to keep us progressing. We are beyond delighted. Stay tuned here and on our instagram @officialmedik8 for all the latest. Let’s go to work!
Update 6th April 2020
£10,000 PLEDGED BY L.C. SERVICES LTD.
Delighted to share the details of our pre-announced corporate sponsor. Please join me in saying thank you to Violet and all the management and staff at L.C. Services Ltd. based in Bedfordshire. These guys are a key essential business that are keeping everything from food manufacturing to medical labs going during this period by providing analytical testing continuity. On the News, when you see a clip of a scientist pipetting liquid into a vial that goes into an analytical machine which spews out data... well L.C. Services are a leading ISO-certified UK player providing parts and servicing to all these types of machines, without which, much of this crucial testing would be delayed or grind to a halt. Not only are they working hard to keep this essential service going they have also wanted to help us in our project to give direct assistance to the elderly and homeless.
PLEASE DROP THEM A LINE
When the 50,000 batch gets dispatched, look out for their logo on the pack. In the meantime, please share your good wishes directly with them firstname.lastname@example.org or on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lcservicesltd/. Everyone needs to know.
Update 14th April 2020
£10,000 PLEDGED BY SKINCITY
Yes you read that right! We have smashed our fundraising target. Over the weekend I was contacted by Helen Elldred, founder of Effortless Skin and now head of marketing for Skincity to find out more about the project and how they could get involved. Late yesterday evening, Stefan Fragnar, the new CEO of Skincity got in touch and said they wanted to get involved and immediately agreed to pitch in with a massive £10,000 donation - "Tell us what you need, and we will help". As many of you know, Skincity is one of Europe's main skincare e-commerce retailers. They are very big in Scandinavia and also the UK after acquiring and incorporating Effortless Skin into their family. Skincity are not just a retailer, but an online skin care clinic that specialises in providing professional advice and high-quality products (including Medik8 - yay) to help everyone achieve good skin health.
SHOW THEM YOUR LOVE
As announced on Instagram a few days ago, Medik8 were already prepared to foot the whole remaining bill, but the offer of help from Skincity is fantastic news. It means we can do even more now. Together with the donations from individuals totally well over £1000, we are not only going to get help with the shipping cost (which is expensive for ethanol products) but also we can explore 5 Litre refills with any remaining funds. They will not be expecting this, but head over to their Instagram (@skincityuk) or Facebook (@skincityUK) and comment on their latest post with a big thank you. Or email the team directly email@example.com
Update 29th May 2020
NEW SANITISER SIZES
We previously pledged to make 50,000 x 30ml Hand Sanitisers, but after your feedback we have made a change to the sizings of our bottles. This will allow us to cater for different scale organisations and requirements. We are making the equivalent of 50,000 x 30ml bottles ie. 1.5 metric tonnes of FREE sanitiser!
This will now be supplied in 50ml and 300ml bottles. The smaller size is perfect for personal use on the move, and the larger 300ml bottle with a pump is designed for communal areas. These Medik8 Hygienic Hand Rubs will have a new label, featuring our two brilliant sponsors: Skincity and L.C. Services. We’ll be posting a spotlight on these 2 amazing companies in the coming days.
LET’S GET TO WORK
These brand new bottles have just arrived and fingers crossed, we'll have them filled and start to despatch at the beginning of June. Keep an eye on our instagram @officialmedik8 for all the latest updates, and in the meantime please continue to share this initiative with your network.
KEEP NOMINATING UK WIDE
Organisations in any corner of the UK can nominate themselves via our new online form and we’ll endeavour to help - we want to hear from care homes, homeless shelters, hospices, hospitals etc right across the country. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - please get in touch and share this project up and down the UK in as many deserving organisations as possible. Don’t be shy!