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Addressing the affordability issue of pharmaceutical products in Kenya

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One of the main problems experienced in the pharmaceutical industry in kenya is affordability of drugs. This has been manifested by the large number of people who lack access to quality meds and the others who are left languishing in poverty after paying for them. This situation is largely due to the high prices paid for these meds making them unaffordable despite the fact that health should be a basic need afforded by everybody. Besides, there has been immense championing for price reduction by manufacturers and accelerated production of generic meds through innovation but these meds still remain unaffordable.

Given this situation, we have to look into what really makes for the price of these meds. The price paid by the consumer is a function of the manufacturers price on one hand and the mark-ups of importers, wholesalers and retail pharmacies plus any other dispensing fee on the other. So however low the manufacturer’s price may be, the mark-ups still can exacerbate the price by a large extent. In fact, Health Action International from its surveys and analysis of medicine prices have noted that mark-ups account for up to 90% of the final price especially in unregulated markets. This situation is even worse in emerging markets like Kenya where the supply chain is fragmented and it employs multiple distributors and sub distributors in the context that they have extensive knowledge of the local area. This significantly increase the mark-up costs.

To deal with this logistical challenge, a number of actions have been suggested like reductiction of layers of distribution significantly reducing mark-up costs, increased competition to increase efficiency, reduce the time it take to deliver drugs to consumers, create market friendly regulation and the use of innovation to increase efficiency and transparency across the pharmaceutical supply chain.

SaapCRM mobile technology has tools that can be leveraged to facilitate authentic data collection and reporting in real time hence improving visibility across the supply chain. With this visibility comes greater understanding of the pharma demand which leads to reduced costs and efficiency. With its mobile technology, information on drug consumption can be transmitted by health workers in clinics to central logistics management unit to inform restocking and future procurement hence streamlining the supply chain and remarkably making the drugs affordable.

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