Innovation That Matters

Counterfeit drugs pose a significant risk to patients in Nigeria | Photo source

An online marketplace combats fake pharmaceuticals

Health & Wellbeing

The platform connects consumers with trusted, vetted suppliers

Spotted: After a friend died from a fake malaria pill, MedSaf founder Vivian Nwakah knew she needed to try to prevent future tragedies. Nigeria supports a sizeable market for counterfeit medicines, making it difficult for patients to know who to trust and what information to use to evaluate the safety of a particular drug. A hazy supply chain across much of Nigeria and other neighbouring countries further complicates the health choices made by citizens. And there are minimal means available to ensure that drugs are stored at the required temperature throughout their journey to a healthcare facility.

MedSaf aims to tackle this with a pharmaceutical platform for financing and facilitating the effective and safe movement of medicinal drugs through Africa. This platform incorporates a seven-step vetting process for every supplier and manufacturer, giving stakeholders peace of mind about the safety, provenance, and legitimacy of the drugs in circulation. Technology and data analytics further improve the flow of medication.

The platform is intended to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all pharmaceutical needs, and MedSaf works with hospitals and other care providers to create safe supplies of a variety of medicines. In addition to strict vetting processes, price locking further helps to combat the volatile black market. Organisations can sign up for three, six or 12 month programmes for a set quantity and price of a medicine.

Expired or unused medicines also contribute to the fake pharmaceutical market, and Springwise recently spotted a student’s plan to reuse and repurpose drugs in order to help improve patient safety. For people already accessing safe medical treatments, Springwise spotted an app that helps patients reduce the amount of ADHD medication they use.  

Written by: Keely Khoury



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