On today’s episode of GFA Spotlight, we will be discussing a company that helps health insurance and pharmaceutical companies to make it easier for patients to afford their medications, mPharma.
mPharma, according to their website, is a company that partners with major pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance companies, financial institutions, and governments to deliver medicines directly into the hands of consumers in these underserved markets.
Gregory Rockson, Daniel Shoukimas, and James Finucane founded mPharma, a Ghanaian health start-up, in 2013 to manage prescription medication inventories for pharmacies and their suppliers. It presently operates retail pharmacies and provides market intelligence to hospitals, pharmacies, and patients and is working hard to extend its distribution networks to establish a solid medicine supply chain that has never existed in many of the countries they serve.
mPharma is still one of Africa’s most well-funded start-ups, having raised more than $50 million since its establishment. Following a franchising agreement with Belayab Pharmaceuticals, the start-up entered Ethiopia in early 2021, and set up operations in Gabon when it was outsourced to build supply chain infrastructure, increasing the start-up’s presence in the provision of pharmaceutical systems and distribution networks across the continent. They are also present in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, and Rwanda.
mPharma provides telehealth services in addition to their other services, leveraging on the telemedicine ripple that developed following the COVID outbreak.
Earlier this year, the start-up recently raised $35 million in a Series D funding round that comprises of $30 million in equity and $5 million in debt from Citibank. Investors that participated in the financing include JAM Fund, a venture capital firm founded by Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen; Unbound, a growth investment firm by Shravin Mittal, the managing director of Bharti Global limited (Bharti family investment arm); and Lux Capital, a New York-based VC firm investing in science and tech ventures. Other investors include Northstar, Social Capital, Novastar and TO Ventures.
They intend to use the additional funds to support expansion goals in existing and new markets, develop digital infrastructure, increase its talent pool over the next three years, and launch a pharmaceutical e-commerce platform.
mPharma has the expertise of well-experienced pharmaceutical professionals on its board, including Helena Foulkes, former president of CVS, the largest pharmacy retail chain in the United States, and Daniel Vasella, ex-CEO, and chairman of Novartis; both are members of the board. Other investors in the start-up include the UK’s development arm, CDC Group, Breyer Capital, and Golden Palm Investments.
The pharmaceutical industry and health sector has begun to witness digital revolutions like every other industry, even with the pressure to still maintain quality control and accountability. Solutions to even keep certain pharmacies and technicians accountable are even created as well as programs that assists patients in complying to therapy schedules, providing emergency help, establishing communities, involving patients, and using AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to monitor patients etc.