By Stephen Macharia
Kenyans could soon access quality drugs at a cheaper price after MedSource, a group purchasing organization, announced plans to inject USD 25 million (about Sh2.5 billion) in Kenya over the next five years to improve drug availability and affordability.
MedSource, a subsidiary of US-based Management Sciences for Health (MSH), was launched in Kenya last week with a promise to “help Kenyans access essential medicines” by helping healthcare providers “procure medicines at affordable prices” according to the company CEO Dr Peter Kamunyo.
“Many families are struggling to continuously provide medication, especially to handle non-communicable diseases such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes, among others.
Through MedSource, health care providers will be able to procure the medicines their customers need at more affordable prices,” Kamunyo said.
Speaking at the launch, MSH President Marian Wentworth lauded Kenya for her efforts in improving healthcare. She, however, cited lack of access to medicines as a challenge plaguing developing countries adding “ Medsource is a positive disruption” in the drug procurement chain.
Wentworth further said about 2 Billion people in the world lack access to affordable medicines.
“MedSource also represents an innovative way for MSH to create private-sector opportunities to help deliver quality health services and products to more people.
We are happy to add this novel approach to the range of other work that we have done over the years and we hope this venture in Kenya is just the beginning of similar work throughout Africa,” she said.
She noted that MedSource “aggregates purchasing power for pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers”.
The company said it negotiates for discounts in bulk medicine procurement consequently reducing the cost of essential drugs to healthcare providers.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cecily Kariuki, in a speech read on her behalf by Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) registrar Dr Fred Siyoi, termed the move by Med Source as one that will promote patient safety.
“The government recognises important roles played by stakeholders in providing healthcare services. The contribution of MedSource towards the attainment of UHC by reducing overall costs and maintaining quality in the health commodities supply chain cannot be overemphasised,” Kariuki said.
About 800 healthcare providers have expressed interest in signing up for services working with MedSource, the company CEO said.