Online pharmacies in Africa are booming, competitive with Amazon
Amazon pharmacy is a competitor, but because it focuses only on long-term medications, it misses the needs of the larger populace.
African online pharmacies such as MyDawa, AddPharma, and myMedicines, are the new hype after introducing brick-and-mortar pharmacies into the e-commerce realm, enticing investors to be interested in cashing in on the 34% of Africans who are active on that.
Full-service outlets for high-cost and low-cost conditions have been established, which flourished opportunities for pharma distributors while proving convenient and fast. Amazon pharmacy is a competitor but because it focuses only on long-term medications, it misses the needs of the larger populace.
Founder and CEO of Nigerian e-retailer myMedicines, Abimbola Adebakin, stated, “Our approach was to bridge a gap for anyone who needed medication, and we have a lot of needs in Nigeria for acute conditions. It is the higher-hanging fruit but more dire need in less developed countries.”
His company makes urgent and critical drugs like antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines available instantly.
Cooperation over competition
CEO Sinhue Noronha of Africure Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest manufacturing sites and distribution capabilities in sub-Saharan Africa, expressed: “Wherever we manufacture and an e-pharmacy is set up, there is a potential for cooperation,"
“The e-pharmacy that is picking up our product is picking up a registered product in that country. And if it is manufactured in-country, they can be sure of a complete supply chain process without hiccups. If you’re bringing in products made in India or China, there is the question of delivery and supply chain problems,” Noronha added.
As opposed to the Amazon approach, African pharmacies have shown a preference for cooperation over competition.
It may all look polished, but there are challenges posed, one being prescription verification. Moving from prescriptions on pen and paper to digitalized forms can be difficult, but the online retailers acknowledge that offline transactions are proving to be more efficient, and most websites request a photo of the paper prescription to be sent through Whatsapp.
The ability of African online pharmacies, having chosen this ambitious route, to effectively deliver medicine fast and conveniently, is evidence of the significance of patient-centricity in the countries involved despite market complexity.