Maisha Meds is run by a medical student from Stanford. Maisha Meds has developed a mobile tablet based application to help pharmacies manage their stock. While pharmacy management systems are nothing new, a system that costs only $200 and is internet enabled allows for this kind of technology to reach the pharmacies at the very bottom of the income pyramid, who then start uploading data to the cloud. Their technology has been operational in pharmacies in Kisumu in Western Kenya for over a year. Once pharmacies start using this technology there are a whole host of interesting things that you can use the data for.
1. Directing patients to the cheapest medicine vendor in their area based on pharmacy list price
2. Helping pharmacies to re-order medicines from distributors at the best price or fastest delivery time
3. Helping the large distributors identify the pharmacies with good credit ratings and cut out more of the middle men in sub-wholesaling of pharmaceuticals
4. Pushing education messaging and special offers down to the pharmacies
5. Providing a cheap source of credit for pharmacies to help lower reordering cycles and bring down the cost of medicines.
6. Data can be used for sales force effectiveness and to inform pharmaceutical company strategy in these market
The company is run by two biochemical engineers from New York. What they’ve invented is a chromatography strip that can run twelve different chemical tests on a drug, looking for functional chemical groups. This produces a series of colored lines on the paper. Using a smartphone you take a photo of the paper and the app can tell, based on the color changes, whether the medicine contains the appropriate amount of active ingredient, or is counterfeit or substandard. The single piece of paper can test up to 60 different drugs, with the aim to expand the number approved for testing. It also tests for chalk and starch as potential cutting agents in counterfeit drugs.
There has never been a post market surveillance tool like Veripad available in these markets that can be used by anyone and deliver a verdict on medicine suitability for just $1 per test (current manufacturing cost is around $0.50).