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Affordable medicines for chronic conditions

Supply chain tool will connect patients to medicines approaching expiry date

  • by Neil Townsend
  • 29 Apr 19

Case study

Medicine Bank redirects close to end of shelf life medicines to pharmacies offering low-cost drugs to refugees in Jordan. Fifty per cent of Syrian refugees have a family member with a chronic condition. And about half of Syrians with a chronic illness couldn’t access their medicine in 2016, with financial barriers being the key obstacle. At the same time, pharmaceutical producers pay to dispose of unused medication every year. Medicine Bank is a supply chain management tool that connects diabetes and hypertension medicine approaching expiry to patients through contracts with drug producers and local pharmacies.

Half of the 671,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordan have a family member with a chronic illness, such as diabetes or hypertension. And many are unable to access the medicine they need, because it is too expensive.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than three-quarters of Syrian households surveyed in 2017 whose members had been unable to get medicine or care for chronic conditions said they could not afford it. And last year, Jordan introduced rules that spelled the end of subsidised healthcare services for Syrian refugees living outside camps.

At the other end of the supply chain, drug companies in Jordan – which has a well-established pharmaceutical manufacturing sector - are paying money to dispose of unused, medicines nearing the end of their shelf life. This didn’t seem logical to a group of Syrian refugees who came up with the idea of Medicine Bank.

“If drugs could be sold cheaper, pharmacies would gain more business and drug companies would reduce the cost of disposing of unwanted medicines,” they said.

With professional backgrounds in pharmacy, accounting, management, information systems and social work the four devised a supply chain management tool that connects diabetes and hypertension medicine approaching expiry to vulnerable chronic disease patients through contracts with drug producers and local pharmacies.

Their tool will also benefit Jordanians with no health insurance. Medicine Bank has started proceedings for legal registration and has initial agreements with Al Hikma pharmaceutical company, five pharmacies and three community-based organisations.

“We hope to change the stereotype of refugees from consumers to producers who are able to provide creative solutions to problems,” says the group. “We have experienced this first-hand and know the problems of our community.”

More Detail about the Innovation

Problem: Many Syrian refugees in Jordan with chronic conditions cannot afford their medicines. Pharmaceutical companies pay for disposal of drugs that are close to their sell-by date.

Solution: Supply chain management tool to link patients to medicines that otherwise would be disposed of.

Current status: In the process of building and developing the product with incubation support from the Mahali lab, Jordan.

Business model: Based on buying short-dated (nearly expired) stock medicine for a lower price or for free depended on the CSR of the pharmaceutical factories and sell it in 50% of the market price.

Proposition: Help stabilise health of chronic disease patients and enhance the financial situation of the family; increase the income of pharmacies, who through more customers; get rid of the short dated and stock medicines and decrease cost of destruction.

Prospects: Expansion to serve more people in other areas

About the Founders: Fouad Alghanem - BA Management and Accounting; Manal Alnjjar - Diploma in Pharmacy; Yazan Khwalih - Management Information Systems; Heba Alkhuja - BA English Literature and Diploma in Social work

Endorsements: Initial exploratory talks with leading pharmaceutical companies in Jordan, five pharmacies and three community-based organisations.

Contact: Email: Skype: medicinebank4 Mobile: 00962788364800

Read more about other innovations from the DEPP Innovation Labs.

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DEPP Innovation Labs

  • by Neil Townsend