Startup raises $4.4m to expand access to medicines

Startup in the health technology ecosystem, DrugStoc has raised $4.4 million in Series A funding to expand access to quality medicines while providing sustainable supply chain financing for healthcare providers in sub-Saharan Africa. 
   
The funding round is led by Africa HealthCare Master Fund (AAIC), and other investors, including Chicago-based venture firm Vested World and the German Development Bank (DEG). 
  
 Director at AAIC, Nobuhiko Ichimiya, said: “We are very excited to be part of the Drugstoc journey. The pharmaceutical market in Africa has enormous growth potential and we are glad to back a company well-positioned to be a key player in the sector’s growth in sub-Saharan Africa.”
   
DrugStoc’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chibuzor Opara, asserted that the company was committed to making an impact in the healthcare industry. 
    
Opara said the funding will enable the firm to expand and launch its tech-enabled products in more African countries where pharmaceuticals are critically needed.
   
Launched in 2017, DrugStoc is a cloud-based platform that provides healthcare providers with the interface for easy access to pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. It ensures that patients get quality medicines at affordable prices. It boasts of superior quality control systems with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification on Good Distribution Practice. 
   
Having grown over the last three years with an almost 1500 per cent increase in monthly sales since January 2018, 14 million people currently have access to genuine healthcare products through hospitals and pharmacies covered by DrugStoc. 
   
With this funding round, the company said it expects to grow coverage to about 100 million people, which would be achieved by expanding supply chain infrastructure both digitally and physically. 
   
Digital expansion will see DrugStoc build out its tech solutions to boost access and accommodate more partners as it extends coverage beyond Lagos. DrugStoc will also build on its partnerships with financial institutions such as Sterling Bank, to increase access to sustainable supply chain financing.
The company, founded by two professionals in the health sector, Opara and Adham Yehia, has powered over nine million prescriptions and projects 12 million by the end of 2021. 
    
Opara said: “Fragile and resource-challenged healthcare systems require a radically transformative set of market-based strategies to expand access to healthcare. The DrugStoc way re-engineers the value chain digitally, improving and expanding access to healthcare at the same time.”