Project Lead(s): Saim Siddiqui, Ohrieme Eborieme
According to the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, access to authentic and affordable medicines remains a challenge in many parts of the developing world, including Pakistan, where at least one-third of prescription drugs (Rx) are counterfeit.
The aim of this project was to provide a cost-effective, scalable means of empowering patients to access genuine medicines at affordable prices, to improve health outcomes and avoid financial insolvency through a novel insurance scheme.
Low-income individuals were enrolled into a pharmacy benefits member program (PBM).
This program works as follows:
1. PBM members authenticate drugs at point of sale (POS) using their mobile phone.
2. Software matches the phone number of the PBM member and Rx code of the drug with the list of PBM members and Rx codes.
3. Once both codes are matched, the POS financial transaction is authorized, along with the discount.
4. An e-receipt of the Rx purchase is generated for the member.
The second key objective was to deploy a sustainable and scalable solution that replicates a Pharmacy Benefits Plan (PBM) through access to subsidized medicine.
The project was successful in deploying an innovative, mobile phone-based solution so consumers can verify the authenticity of a pharmaceutical product at the point of sale, because a unique code is applied to every product coming off the manufacturing line.
A total of five clients, including Pakistan’s two fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies (Getz Pharma and Ferozsons Labs) have agreed to participate in the program.
In addition to reducing counterfeiting and subsidizing drug access, unique coding is a transformative way of identifying treatment adherence that allows engagement with patients who verify their medicine via SMS. Ferozsons Labs will be implementing this with over 75,000 patients.
The team was unable to deliver on the second phase of the plan, to develop an insurance scheme for low-income individuals.
Primarily because of the team’s work and the announcement of the first large-scale deployment with a pharmaceutical company, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has started work to introduce unique coding on all medicines sold in Pakistan.
The team intends to apply for Transition To Scale (TTS) funding.