An online pharmacy based in the Black Country has merged with a Yorkshire rival to create a new £43 million business.

The tie-up between Oldbury-based Chemist Direct and Leeds outfit Pharmacy2U has created a business with a 1.5 million-strong customer base and follows the opening of the latter's new £3.5 million dispensing hub in the West Yorkshire city.

The new business offers a fully managed online home delivery prescription service for NHS patients and online doctor consultation services for a wide range of common conditions.

The merger was supported by a £10 million investment from the Business Growth Fund, the funding stream created by five high street banks to support growing companies, which will support the outfit future growth plans.

Mark Livingstone, current chief executive of Chemist Direct, will lead the new-look venture, bringing experience from spells with LoveFilm and

Daniel Lee, founder and superintendent pharmacist of Pharmacy2U, will take the role of chief operating officer.

Mr Livingstone said: "This is a landmark moment for internet pharmacy in the UK.

"It is the beginning of a new era of convenience and choice for millions more patients, as we open up the full potential of internet pharmacy for the first time.

"BGF has confidence in our plans, and their long-term, minority partner approach was the right fit for the business."

Mr Lee added: "Online pharmacy has now come of age, with 80 per cent of GP surgeries now using the NHS Electronic Prescription Service and patients keen to shop online for health and wellbeing products.

"Increasing numbers of patients are also seeking the support of online doctor services. This merger means that we are in an unrivalled position to respond to the growing demand for these innovative services."

Richard Taylor, investor with the BGF who joins the board of the new business, said: "This is BGF's second significant investment since the referendum vote, demonstrating that there are business owners and management teams that are forging ahead with their plans. That is a positive sign.

"No-one knows the outcome of the next few weeks but now is not the time for business to start putting the brakes on.

"Now is the time to keep investing, keep partnering and keep innovating - and that is something we are wholeheartedly committed to doing."