Drugstoc is the most recent Nigerian firm to receive funding from investors. The announcement was made today, November 15th, 2021, across the company’s social media sites. ‘Today we announced our $4.4 million Series A financing,’ they stated on LinkedIn. With our sustainable supply chain finance, about 100 million Africans will have improved access to quality medications, and healthcare practitioners will be able to serve their patients better.’
The company intends to expand beyond Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria, to 16 other states in the country. This is in addition to its more ambitious plans to grow into other African markets outside Nigeria.
Several investors participated in the investment round led by Africa Healthcare Master Fund, including Chicago-based venture firm Vested World, the German Development Bank (DEG), and high-net-worth individuals interested in tech-health (AAIC).
“We are devoted to creating a difference in the healthcare industry,” said Chibuzor Opara, co-founder and CEO of DrugStoc. With this support, we can expand and introduce our tech-enabled goods in more African countries where drugs are in short supply.
“We are delighted to be part of the Drugstore journey,” said AAIC Director Nobuhiko Ichimiya. The African pharmaceutical market has tremendous development potential. We are pleased to support a company well-positioned to play a vital role in the sector’s expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
DrugStoc is a cloud-based platform that allows healthcare providers to easily access medications and healthcare items. It was launched in 2017 by two healthcare experts, Chibuzo Opara and Adham Yehia. The company has powered over nine million prescriptions and expects to reach 12 million by the end of 2021. Chibuzo Opara expressed his thoughts: “To improve access to healthcare in fragile and resource-constrained healthcare systems, a radically revolutionary set of market-based strategies is required. The DrugStoc method digitally re-engineers the value chain, simultaneously increasing and expanding healthcare access.” It guarantees that patients receive high-quality medications at a reasonable cost. It has excellent quality control systems and has been certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for Good Distribution Practices.
Even within Nigeria, the availability of high-quality pharmaceutical items means saving thousands of needless fatalities, such as those caused by blood loss during childbirth or children succumbing to diarrheal infections.
According to Opara, Since January 2018, 14 million individuals have had access to genuine healthcare items through hospitals and pharmacies insured by DrugStoc, which has increased by about 1500% in monthly sales over the last three years.
With this round of funding, the company’s coverage will increase to almost 100 million individuals. It intends to do so by digitally and physically increasing its supply chain infrastructure. DrugStoc intends to expand its digital solutions to increase access and accommodate new partners. To boost access to long-term supply chain financing, DrugStoc says it will expand its collaborations with financial institutions such as Sterling Bank.
DrugStoc connects 400 manufacturers with 3,200 doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. According to Opara, the platform’s monthly sales have increased by over 1,500% in the last three years, owing to the demand for quality assurance provided by DrugStoc’s platform. Every sale generates a commission for the startup.
“I don’t think we ever doubted the need when we first started because we knew the enormity of the problem.” “And we recognized that people were tired of the existing quo,” Opara remarked.
“The underlying impetus in many healthcare institutions or pharmacies is the fact that we are transforming not just convenience and access but also paying great attention to quality, which is something that every healthcare practitioner is concerned about at the end of the day.”
Africa imports around 94% of its pharmaceutical and therapeutic needs from outside the continent, according to estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Drugstoc ensures that more people have access to critical pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and health technology in a safe, effective, and affordable manner.
The Jacques Foundation awarded DrugStoc the first $ 1 million African Net Planner Award initiative share ($ 65,000) in 2019. This pitching competition honours ten firms that offer solutions to Africa’s most pressing concerns. They’ve also received donations from Bill and Melinda Gates and startup money from Vested World—a sub-Saharan African-focused early-stage investment fund.
DrugStoc will expand its coverage to more areas thanks to the increased funding, including more fulfilment centres and expanded transit hubs and routes, providing greater logistic alternatives for last-mile deliveries. It’s also forming alliances with financial institutions to expand access to long-term supply chain financing. In addition, significant investments in cold chain infrastructure are planned to improve the safe distribution of perishable goods.
Africa’s pharmaceutical business is expected to grow from $5.5 billion in 2007 to $56 billion to $70 billion by 2030. However, the continent’s fragmented supply chain and unstable distribution channels remain a big obstacle. It impacts the availability of high-quality medicines, the cost of drugs, and the efficiency with which health workers offer care. In this rapidly expanding business, supply chain innovation is a crucial opportunity.