What progress can a healthcare provider make in society if they are constantly faced with the challenge of a broken supply chain, chaotic distribution channels, epileptic delivery of quality drugs and pharmaceutical supplies? Not a lot. Well, this is the reality that many health care providers in Sub Saharan Africa face as they work towards an effective health care delivery system. Not to mention the counterfeit products that are also infiltrating the fractured supply chain. We can guess that their work becomes all the more complicated because of this.
However, Drugstoc provides a cloud-based platform to obtain quality medicines at affordable prices, thus strengthening superior quality control systems with the certification of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on good practices of distribution.
Drugstoc, a Nigerian online pharmaceutical distribution startup, is expanding access to quality drugs for healthcare providers and rebuilding supply chain finance in the pharmaceutical industry.
Co-founder and CEO of Drugstoc, Chibuzo Opara told in the Nairametrics Business Half Hour that his first inspiration to start a business like this came to him when he lost a patient due to the unavailability of a pharmaceutical product required for orthopedic surgery. Troubled by the incident, he decided he wanted to find a solution to the problem.
This led him to pursue studies in economics and finance, and it was at this point that he met his co-founder, Adam Yehia, who was pursuing a master’s degree in healthcare innovation at the University. of Maastricht in the Netherlands. They shared ideas on the health sector problems in Nigeria, as well as possible solutions.
They returned to Nigeria in 2015 after graduating and started Integra Health, a hospital management company providing health care management and consulting services to around 20 hospitals at the time. Once again, they ran into the problem of the pharmaceutical supply and decided it was time to do something.
“It was a nightmare trying to source pharmaceuticals so we decided it was time to provide a solution. Every business is at the right time and at the right opportunity. Starting a business is crazy and running a business is difficult, but we knew we had to start somewhere. “Fragile and resource-limited health systems require a radically transformative set of market-based strategies to expand access to health care. The DrugStoc method is reorganizing the value chain digitally, while improving and expanding access to healthcare ”, Opara explained.
It took some trial and error before the team had a functioning and sustainable system, and finally opened the first distribution center in 2017. DrugStoc was incubated as part of the Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies from Stanford in 2016 and became one of the ten finalists for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, Jack Ma’s flagship program for entrepreneurs in Africa.
Drugstoc also won the Technology Distributor of the Year award at the Nigeria Health Excellence Award in 2019 and 2021.
Getting the funds to start the business from the idea and start-up stage was a mix of different sources. There was some seed funding from the co-founders and a few friends, as well as funds from the early investors and clients who signed up during the pilot phase. Drugstoc also had supplier credit, which was convenient as it could access certain products and supplies even without having full payment.
In 2019, DrugStoc won a share ($ 65,000) of the Jack Ma Foundation’s inaugural $ 1 million Africa Netpreneur Award initiative, a pitch competition that recognized 10 companies providing solutions to critical issues in the world. continent. Drugstoc also received a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates.
This lasted until venture capital was injected into the business. In 2020, DrugStoc raised $ 4.4 million in a Series A funding round led by the Africa HealthCare Master Fund (AAIC), the Chicago-based venture capital firm Vested World, the Bank German Development (DEG) and high net worth individuals with a keen interest in health technology.
How Drugstoc Works
Drugstoc operates a B2B model where they serve hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and registered healthcare providers and connect them with more than 400 manufacturers. To get started, these customers must register on the web page or on the application downloaded from the Playstore. Registration is complete when the healthcare provider submits the license for verification. Once done, they can log in at any time to access and order over 7,000 pharmaceuticals, rare drugs, specialty items, medical consumables and even small medical devices with ease.
In addition, Drugstoc also provides smart payment solutions and inventory financing to healthcare providers so that they can focus on delivering efficient healthcare while running their systems in an automated fashion. This service includes inventory automation, intelligent account reconciliation, point of sale (POS) service, Business Growth Manager and a virtual portfolio.
The startup already has more than 3,000 healthcare providers in its clientele. As Drugstoc focuses on satisfying the Nigerian market and expanding to all states, in the future there are plans to go to other African countries and provide the same end-to-end sourcing solution. other health care providers in sub-Saharan Africa.