In its quest to enable ease of access to quality medicines and medical supplies in Nigeria and as well to rid the pharmaceutical stakeholders of the burden of the drug distribution chain in the country, Wellness Medical Distribution has launched Pharmacentre– its online integrative marketplace for pharmaceutical products. The official unveiling of the pharma e-commerce took place on Wednesday, at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
In a press statement made available to the Journalists by the organisation, and signed by the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Wellness Medical Distribution Limited, Pharm. (Mrs) Adetutu Afolabi, the organisation, as part of its dedicated efforts to improve access to quality healthcare in the country, launched the online integrative marketplace for pharmaceutical products on the 20th of April, 2022, with top dignitaries in the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria in attendance.
“Pharmacentre is an online platform that enables licensed medical professionals to sell quality medical products to businesses and consumers alike. “As an integrative marketplace, Pharmacenter integrates consumer-facing (business to consumer selling) and provider-facing (business to business selling) models”.
“Through its interactive and easy-to-use platform, Pharmacentre will leverage the huge stock of pharmaceutical products from different licensed pharma merchants to supply to online consumers/businesses via e-orders, as well as serve as a link between consumers and existing physical pharmacies. Pharmacentre stands to be the one-stop-shop for quality and accessible medical supplies”.
Speaking during the launch, Mrs Afolabi, noted that today’s world is filled with uncertainty, broken infrastructure, and numerous supply chain challenges, as affordability and accessibility to pharmaceutical supplies when needed, in Nigeria, have become a strong pain point. She however added that having a value-driven platform like Pharmacentre that enhances collaboration amongst pharmacists and other healthcare providers will improve the well-being of our people, saying nobody should be left stranded because they do not have a pharmacist in their network.
“Many persons, within the country, are battling chronic health conditions or having challenges in accessing traditional pharmacy services search for relevant platforms for access to quality medical products. While a number of e-platforms in Nigeria exist to cater to this need, there are still very significant gaps in linkages between all points of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Also, a bulk of these existing platforms are largely consumer-facing and do not seamlessly solve the need for pharmacies looking to stock medical supplies as well.
Afolabi noted that the Pharmacentre platform enables users to either register as individuals or businesses, saying registered users are further required to indicate if they would be interacting on the platform as a customer or as a vendor. “However, only licensed vendors are authenticated to sell on the marketplace”, she said.
“Through the platform, users, whether as individuals or businesses, will be able, not only to get quality medicines from licensed vendors but also be able to get these delivered conveniently to their doorsteps, with the least hassle. Using the ‘Talk to a Pharmacist’ feature as well, users on the platform can easily get first-hand recommendations and prescriptions from licensed pharmacists before purchasing drugs online.
“Vendors on the platform get to benefit from the ease of listing their medical products on the platform, thereby, broadening the visibility of their business and brand. They also get to track how their products are faring via real-time marketing reports/dashboards showing sales on the platform. Vendors likewise are able to run promotions on the platform to market their products to a wider viewership as well as flexibly offer discounts on their products”.
According to her, the platform offers a great opportunity for all stakeholders within the pharmaceutical space to operate effectively and collaboratively towards the goal of enhancing access to medical supplies and products. “At the heart of this objective, is the overarching interest in improving health and wellness, a primary motivation for the parent company, Wellness Healthcare Group”.
She added, “Over 253,000 deaths happen yearly in Nigeria, due to insufficient access to quality healthcare. While a good number of these casualties come from inadequate health systems, others stem from little or no access to medicines. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, major disruptions have visited pharmacy markets globally, through the power of technology and online commerce, in a bid to facilitate easier and safer access to drugs, for all. As such, getting medicines online affords consumers the benefit of quick, easy, convenient, and private access to medical needs, with the click of a mouse.
“Early this year, Wellness HMO, launched its mobile app, Wellness Plus, to revolutionize healthcare service delivery in Nigeria. The mobile app affords users the power to choose health and wellness for themselves, through options to request healthcare services, and monitor their health, from the comfort of their homes. Wellness Healthcare Group is committed to providing good and affordable healthcare to all, through its robust innovative healthcare solutions”.
Commending the vision of Wellness Medical Distribution Ltd in initiating the newly launched pharma e-commerce, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, president, PSN, said it is the right step in the right direction, as technology is redesigning everything about human existence. He asserted that anyone that fails to embrace technology presently will be overtaken by technology, as it holds the key to the future.
“I think this is a great thing for pharmacists to have a one-stop-shop to access all their needs. The good thing about it is that pharmacists will always be on the ground to assist operations on the platform, so ethical consideration is taken care of.
The PCN Registrar, Dr Mohammed, also lauded the introduction of the virtual pharma marketplace, describing it as a timely innovation to bridge the gap in the pharmaceutical digital space for most young pharmacists, who lack the financial capacity to invest in technological infrastructure to operate an online pharmacy.
He also assured the pharma ecosystem of proper regulation of the platform, saying the PCN as the regulator will ensure all stakeholders play the rules and regulations of the Council, as any pharmacist who is not registered with the Council, will not be allowed to operate on the platform.
To know more about the Pharmacentre platform, visit https://pharmacentre.africa/