By Jobs Osazuwa
Welfare Healthcare Group has developed an online marketplace, called Pharmacentre, for the seamless distribution of pharmaceuticals across Nigeria.
According to the Group’s Managing Director and Managing Director, Adetutu Afolabi, the platform was designed by IT experts to also control the circulation of counterfeit products.
Explaining how the portal works, she said anyone, resellers and retailers, can trade their stock on Phamacentre and take the stress out of physically sourcing drugs from one warehouse to another.
According to her, with the birth of the platform, the innovation has made it possible to overcome the inconvenience encountered by the actors when purchasing drugs and other pharmaceutical products.
Afolabi explained that wholesalers and retailers can check prices on the portal before making a purchase. She added that no one is limited by distance anymore.
Addressing how counterfeit drugs would be reduced, she said the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) is committed to implementing strict regulations on every exposed drug.
“It’s very controlled because there are pharmacists who are constantly on the platform. No unregistered seller can trade on the platform. We can shut down any vendor’s store on the app that is not doing the right thing.
“Any drug without OTC will not be accepted on the platform. If you want to buy a prescription drug, there is also a provision for this where you will download the prescription and speak with the pharmacist for advice.
“We meet Nigerians on their devices and provide them with health care,” Afolabi said.
The National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifo, agreed that technology was needed to boost the sale and distribution of drugs and other products to improve the health of Nigerians.
He said: “We must not be left behind and we must embrace the future of digitizing what we do as pharmacists and business people in the sector. I believe that the chaotic distribution of medicines that we have in the country will be solved by proper digitization of our pharmaceutical centers. If we are not ready to change, we will be left behind.
On her part, a director of the NCP, Ms Ukamaka Okafor, who represented the council clerk, Elijah Mohammed, said that all pharmacists must be registered before operating on the online platform.