As part of its efforts to rid pharmaceutical stakeholders the burden of drug distribution chain in the country, Wellness Medical Distribution has launched Pharmacentre– a virtual pharma marketplace for wholesalers, retailers and end users of pharmaceutical products and services. The official unveiling of the pharma e-commerce took place on Wednesday, at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The occasion, which was graced by crème de la crème in the pharmaceutical sector, had in attendance, the National President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Prof. Cyril Usifoh; Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Dr. N.A.E. Mohammed, ably represented by the Director, Lagos Zonal Office, Dr (Mrs) Ukamaka Okafor; Chairman, Lagos State PSN, Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola; Chairman, Pharmaceutical Wholesalers, and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN) Pharm. Ernest Okafor; and other representatives from PSN, PCN and ACPN.
Speaking during the launch of the platform, Pharm. (Mrs) Adetutu Afolabi, MD/CEO of Wellness Healthcare Group and founder Pharmacentre, says: “Today’s world is filled with uncertainty, broken infrastructure, and numerous supply chain challenges. As affordability and accessibility to pharmaceutical supplies has become a strong pain point, having a value-driven platform like Pharmacentre that enhances collaboration amongst pharmacists and other healthcare providers will improve the well-being of our people.
“Nobody should be left stranded because he or she does not have a pharmacist in his or her network.
“It is a controlled platform because pharmacists will be on the ground for telemedicine consultation. The need for traceability is also captured because all vendors on the platform must be registered. We can close any store that may be found wanting at any point in time. The beauty of it all is for pharmacists to be able to stock their stores without any hassle”.
Commending the vision of Wellness Medical Distribution Ltd in initiating the newly launched pharma e-commerce, Prof. Usifoh, 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.
“In addition, it will avail pharmacists the opportunity of procuring genuine drugs without having issues of substandard products; even when there are issues concerning any drug, you can trace them to the supplier. The platform is also beneficial to patients, as pharmacists will be on the ground to provide necessary services. The platform will restrict unregistered pharmacists from selling ethical drugs”.
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.
According to Mohammed:” The launch of the Pharmacentre is very timely, and it has solved a lot of challenges of community pharmacists. Recently, we launched online pharmacy regulations; and we found out that some young pharmacists in community practice can’t afford the huge infrastructure of IT. So what Wellness has done is a very good concept, because they have helped all community pharmacists that want to do online pharmacy to invest in IT infrastructure, so all they need to do is to come under their platform.
“We at PCN are the regulators and will ensure that all operators abide by the regulations. Any pharmacist that will come under Pharmacentre must be registered by the PCN, and they have a lot of channels- wholesale to retailers, and retailers to end-users. In that last mile distribution, it is expected that patients interphase with pharmacists before having access to the platform. So patients are not supposed to have access without interplaying with the pharmacists”.
Pharmacentre is an online platform that enables licensed medical professionals to sell quality medical products to businesses and consumers alike. As an integrative marketplace, Pharmacentre 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.