Thursday
April 11
2019

Award-Winning Startup Targets Affordable Medicine for Every African

By Nellie Peyton

A Ghana-based start-up has received $1.5 million from Ebay billionaire Jeff Skoll to support its work in changing Africa’s pharmaceutical industry to make medicines more affordable.

MPharma is one of five social businesses to receive awards from the Skoll Foundation at this week’s Skoll World Forum, Britain’s leading event for social enterprise.

Pharmacy owners in African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria have to negotiate prices individually with drug suppliers, meaning the same medicine can cost different amounts in different pharmacies, said mPharma founder Gregory Rockson.

Because there is little regulation, drug prices are marked up by middlemen and often become exorbitant, he said.

MPharma works by managing drug supply for multiple pharmacies, so it can negotiate bulk prices and re-distribute medicines as needed. The pharmacists only pay for what they sell, which incentivizes mPharma to keep prices low.

Photo courtesy of Chris Potter.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

Categories
Health Care
Tags
emerging markets, events and competitions, global health, health care technology, pharmaceutical industry, social business, social enterprise, startups