Ghana-based social enterprise mPharma, co-founded by Gregory Rockson, Daniel Shoukimas and James Finucane, manages prescription inventory for pharmacies to make medicines more affordable for Africans. This is an urgency, as the drug supply chain in Africa is broken and while disease rates rise, drugs fail to get into the hands of those who need them most.
At the same time, many countries are unprepared – and after decades of prioritising malaria and HIV, it’s now the new killers — like cancer, diabetes, and hypertension —that are placing the biggest burden on Africa’s healthcare systems. Pharmacies on their side are struggling to stock life-saving medicines but frequent ‘stock outs’ prevent medicine from getting into the hands of patients who need them most. And meanwhile, it’s of course the patients that pay the price: by the time the middle men have taken their margins, patients in Africa often pay three times as much as patients in Western countries for the same drugs.
This is why many people can’t afford their full treatment and some are forced to opt for low-grade alternatives. Counterfeit drugs are rife. That brings millions of Africans in front of a daily dilemma. Should they buy insulin for themselves or food for their families? Should they pay to visit a doctor or for their child to go to school? In a just world, these are choices no-one should have to make.
mPharma intends to disrupt the industry by stocking pharmacy shelves with no payment required up front. They use the collective power of their network pf pharmacies to negotiate lower prices with the best manufacturers. And they harness technology to eliminate the inefficiencies and price fluctuations that prevent prescription drugs reaching sick people.
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