Pharmacy in a box

 

“You shouldn’t spoil people in developing countries with donor money; you need to help them develop a sense of entrepreneurship.” This motto of Healthy Entrepreneurs—an organization that works to ensure that generic medicines are affordable and available in developing countries—is also the basis of its financial model. The idea is not to give medicines away but help local entrepreneurs take on a pharmacy franchise, which sells them at predetermined prices.

 

“In developing countries, there’s a big gap between the underside of the pyramid, which has access to medicines financed by international organisations, and the private market, where medicines are very expensive,” says Maarten Neve, 39, who established Healthy Entrepreneurs together with Joost van Engen, 38, in the summer of 2011. ”In that ‘poor private market,’ as we call it, medicines are available but are often poor quality."

 

According to Neve and Van Engen, their concept taps into a new type of aid that establishes an innovative distribution channel within a country’s existing structures and then, within that structures, gives people the opportunity to buy into and run a pharmacy franchise for a modest sum. Franchise owners can increase their profits, not by raising the price of the medicines but by selling more. And Healthy Entrepreneurs profits as well. “But we don’t maximize profits; we invest them in the network,” Neve explains. “The aim is to make as many medicines as possible available in these areas.”

 

The areas in question are Bangladesh, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Congo and Haiti, where five pharmacies are franchised with five more in the pipeline this year. In Congo, a model is being developed for a “pharmacy in a box.” These are small, portable pharmacies offering 25 standard medicines that can be easily transported to remote locations. The two balding, blue-eyed, bespectacled partners—who are often mistaken for one another on distant continents—get their medicine supply from India, where it is cheaply produced. Ultimately, the idea is to relocate production. In India, Neve and Van Engen met Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, creator of the microcredit concept. Yunus was so impressed he decided to provide modest seed money via a microcredit for local entrepreneurs wishing to buy into a franchise. | Floor Boon

 

Photo: Flickr.com/StockMonkeys.com

Solution News Source

Pharmacy in a box

 

“You shouldn’t spoil people in developing countries with donor money; you need to help them develop a sense of entrepreneurship.” This motto of Healthy Entrepreneurs—an organization that works to ensure that generic medicines are affordable and available in developing countries—is also the basis of its financial model. The idea is not to give medicines away but help local entrepreneurs take on a pharmacy franchise, which sells them at predetermined prices.

 

“In developing countries, there’s a big gap between the underside of the pyramid, which has access to medicines financed by international organisations, and the private market, where medicines are very expensive,” says Maarten Neve, 39, who established Healthy Entrepreneurs together with Joost van Engen, 38, in the summer of 2011. ”In that ‘poor private market,’ as we call it, medicines are available but are often poor quality."

 

According to Neve and Van Engen, their concept taps into a new type of aid that establishes an innovative distribution channel within a country’s existing structures and then, within that structures, gives people the opportunity to buy into and run a pharmacy franchise for a modest sum. Franchise owners can increase their profits, not by raising the price of the medicines but by selling more. And Healthy Entrepreneurs profits as well. “But we don’t maximize profits; we invest them in the network,” Neve explains. “The aim is to make as many medicines as possible available in these areas.”

 

The areas in question are Bangladesh, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Congo and Haiti, where five pharmacies are franchised with five more in the pipeline this year. In Congo, a model is being developed for a “pharmacy in a box.” These are small, portable pharmacies offering 25 standard medicines that can be easily transported to remote locations. The two balding, blue-eyed, bespectacled partners—who are often mistaken for one another on distant continents—get their medicine supply from India, where it is cheaply produced. Ultimately, the idea is to relocate production. In India, Neve and Van Engen met Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, creator of the microcredit concept. Yunus was so impressed he decided to provide modest seed money via a microcredit for local entrepreneurs wishing to buy into a franchise. | Floor Boon

 

Photo: Flickr.com/StockMonkeys.com

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