Shelf Life Stocking to improve UHC

Friday, November 29th, 2019 19:51 |
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki. PHOTO/FILE

The achievement of the Big Four Agenda on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has received a shot in the arm after the launch of a pharmaceutical inventory management subscription service, which will ensure availability of medicines at the local level.

Shelf Life, the pharmaceutical inventory management subscription service is active in 50 retail locations in Kenya, with over 500 life-saving medicines and essential products being supplied on a pay-as-you-sell basis.

Shelf Life Kenya Head Pharmacist Ajiffa Labor said that the services have been licensed in Kenya by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, adding that in the country there are about 5,840 privately-owned community pharmacies licensed by the board, compared to approximately 4,700 government health facilities.

According to the company’s research, 60 per cent of community pharmacies frequently stock out of essential medicines and 55 per cent are without access to stable supply and finance.

“We have had great support from the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya and the Kenya Pharmaceutical Association. They recognise that we can instill discipline and scale to retail pharmacy management. By offloading analytics, procurement and logistics to Shelf Life, pharmacists are able to focus on treating their customers with genuine, quality medicines,” said Labor.

Labor added that Shelf Life pharmacies achieve an average of 96 percent availability on essential products from over 45 therapeutic areas - including medication for hypertension, diabetes and malaria. These improvements in accuracy are achievable thanks to Shelf Life subscriptions, which give pharmacists access to business insights to forecast and optimize inventory levels.

“Pharmacies on Shelf Life sell their products on consignment - paying only for what they sell. This protects them from inventory and expiry risk, as well as enabling them to expand their range of medicines and other essential items. Kenyan pharmacies on the platform are adding an average of 34 new product subscriptions to their Shelf Life account each month,” explained Labor.

Labor said that Shelf Life was launched in July 2017, by Field Intelligence, to sell pharmaceuticals and provide technology-enabled inventory management services to community pharmacies. Besides operating in Kenya, it has offices in Nigeria and Germany. 

“By offloading inventory management, logistics, and retail analytics to Shelf Life, pharmacies are freeing up an average of Sh.100,000 in working capital per month. They receive monthly business intelligence insights, which cover inventory performance and pricing,” said Labor. 

Michael Moreland, CEO and Co-Founder, Field Intelligence, says, “With approaching 200 community pharmacies on the Shelf Life platform across Africa, we are building the largest technology-enabled pharmacy supply chain network on the continent. We are only scratching the surface of how technology can transform access to healthcare for many millions of people.”

Mohamed Omar of Princess Pharmacy in South ‘C’, Nairobi says, “For a long time we have wanted to expand the treatments we offer our customers. But nowadays, it is tough for a small business to raise the finance to do this.”

“By subscribing to Shelf Life, we have been able to reduce the risk of stocking more products and we’ve been able to free up cash to hire more staff. Our customers really like that we are open longer and that they can get genuine, quality medicines,” said Omar. --KNA

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