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Pharmarun’s bold stand against Africa’s medicine drought

Copyrighted to HIEquity.ai

In the landscape of African healthcare, the challenge of accessing essential medicines is acute and widespread. A 2023 scoping review highlighted a concerning statistic: over 30% of the global population faces regular difficulties in accessing essential medicines. This shortfall is particularly pronounced in Africa, where poor access to quality medicines severely limits healthcare outcomes. Such a gap in healthcare infrastructure leaves the African population highly vulnerable to the continent’s most prevalent and lethal diseases: malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

Responding to this critical healthcare challenge is Pharmarun, an innovative health-tech company founded on July 1, 2021. With its headquarters operating across diverse regions, including Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Pharmarun has been co-founded by Funmilola Aderemi and Teniola Adedeji. In a relatively short period, the company has carved a niche for itself as a significant entity in the healthcare sector. Pharmarun’s focus on pharmaceutical services is particularly notable, addressing the pressing need for accessible and quality medicines in the African region and beyond.

Pain point addressed

Pharmarun addresses medication accessibility in Africa through a digital platform that aggregates pharmacy inventories, ensuring availability and delivery efficiency. It integrates logistic solutions, online ordering, financial accessibility options, healthcare system integration, and educational services. This adaptable and scalable approach improves healthcare outcomes by making medication more accessible and manageable.

Type of solution

Pharmarun’s platform-based solution represents a comprehensive, tech-driven approach to improving access to medications and medical supplies. By combining database management, FinTech, logistics optimization, healthcare system integration, user-friendly design, and stringent data security measures, the solution is well-positioned to transform the pharmaceutical service landscape, particularly in regions where such advancements are most needed.

Type of input data leveraged

  • Pharmacy inventory data: This is a critical dataset for the platform. It includes specific information such as the name of each medication, its dosage form (e.g., tablet, capsule, liquid), strength (e.g., 500 mg), quantity available in stock, batch numbers, and expiration dates. The platform likely utilizes this data to update its inventory in real-time, allowing it to accurately reflect the current stock levels from various pharmacies. Advanced database management systems are used to store and process this large volume of data, enabling efficient retrieval and updating.
  • Geolocation data: Pharmarun’s logistics component heavily relies on precise geolocation data. This includes not just the static addresses of pharmacies and customers but also dynamic data like the real-time GPS coordinates of delivery vehicles. Such data is crucial for route optimization algorithms that calculate the most efficient delivery paths, considering factors like traffic conditions, distance, and delivery time windows.
  • Customer data: This includes detailed personal information about the customers, such as their names, contact details (phone number, email), and precise delivery addresses. Additionally, for prescription medications, the platform may require specific prescription data, including the prescribing doctor’s details, prescribed medication names, dosage instructions, and duration of the medication course. This data is vital for personalizing the delivery service and ensuring compliance with medication safety standards.

Key technology involved

  • Database management systems (DBMS): used for handling large datasets including inventory levels (such as quantities of each medication), diverse medication types (including names, dosages, and forms), and comprehensive customer records (like personal and prescription details), all crucial for real-time tracking and efficient order processing.
  • Machine learning and predictive analytics: Pharmarun utilizes Machine Learning (ML) in its software for inventory management, predicting medication demand from historical sales and health trends. It optimizes delivery routes by analyzing traffic, locations, and schedules for efficiency. Additionally, ML personalizes customer experiences through tailored recommendations and reminders and anticipates broader health trends, enhancing operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall healthcare outcomes.

Key applications of solution

  • Diagnostic assistance: While Pharmarun primarily deals with medication delivery, its platform could indirectly support diagnostic processes. For instance, providing detailed information about medication interactions and side effects can assist healthcare providers in making informed diagnostic decisions. Additionally, data collected from user interactions and prescriptions could offer insights into prevailing health issues that assist in preliminary diagnostics.

Implications to key stakeholders


  • Enhanced access to a broader range of medications, including hard-to-find drugs
  • Time-saving on-demand delivery service, beneficial for those with mobility issues or in remote areas.
  • Personalized care through predictive analytics and tailored recommendations improves medication adherence and health outcomes.


  • Increased sales and market reach by listing inventory on the platform.
  • Reduced inventory waste through real-time management.
  • Improved operational efficiency via automated processes and inventory management

Logistics partners

  • Logistics partners are responsible for the physical delivery of medications from pharmacies to end customers. This includes courier services, delivery companies, and potentially, in the future, automated delivery services like drones.

Healthcare providers

  • Streamlined prescription process due to integration with healthcare systems
  • Access to data insights about medication usage patterns for better patient compliance and treatment effectiveness
  • Extended reach to patients through telemedicine integration


  • Cost management through easier access to medications and improved adherence, potentially reducing healthcare costs
  • Enhanced risk assessment capabilities using data on medication usage
  • Fraud detection in medication purchases through integration with Pharmarun’s platform

Regulatory bodies

  • Compliance monitoring is ensured by the platform’s adherence to regulatory standards.
  • Data from the platform aids in public health monitoring and decision-making.
  • Encouragement for innovation in healthcare through the success of such platforms.

Current impact

  • Improved medication accessibility: Pharmarun has already made significant strides in making medications more accessible, especially in areas where traditional pharmacy services are limited. By aggregating pharmacy inventories, it ensures a wider range of medications is available to customers.
  • Enhanced convenience in medication delivery: The platform’s on-demand delivery service has introduced a new level of convenience, particularly benefiting individuals with mobility challenges, those in remote areas, and busy urban populations.
  • Operational efficiency for pharmacies: pharmacies using the platform have experienced improved operational efficiencies, with better inventory management and reduced waste due to expired or overstocked medications.

Potential future impact

  • Expansion into new markets: There is a significant opportunity for Pharmarun to expand its services into new regions, especially in parts of Africa where access to medication is a challenge, such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, etc. This expansion can vastly improve healthcare accessibility on a larger scale.
  • Integration with wider healthcare services: The potential to integrate more closely with healthcare providers, telemedicine services, and insurance companies could transform Pharmarun into a more holistic healthcare service provider, offering a broader range of services beyond just pharmacy needs.
  • Advanced personalized healthcare: As the platform evolves, there is potential for more advanced personalized healthcare services, utilizing AI and machine learning to provide even more tailored medication and health recommendations based on individual health data.
  • Innovation and technology development: The success of Pharmarun could spur further innovation in health technology, particularly in developing countries, leading to new technologies and solutions that address various healthcare challenges.

Business model

Pharmarun operates on a B2B2C model, where it collaborates with pharmacies (businesses) to deliver medications to consumers. This model allows Pharmarun to leverage the existing inventory and distribution networks of these pharmacies, extending their reach to a wider customer base through the platform.

Advantages of the business model

  • Wide market reach: By partnering with multiple pharmacies, Pharmarun can reach a larger customer base, including underserved areas where pharmacy access is limited.
  • Operational efficiency: The integration of advanced technologies for inventory management and logistics optimizes operations, reducing delays and costs associated with traditional pharmacy services.
  • Scalability: The B2B2C model, combined with the digital platform, allows Pharmarun to scale its operations rapidly without the need for significant physical infrastructure investment.

Funding and key investors

Pharmarun, a burgeoning health-tech startup based in Nigeria, has recently marked significant milestones in its development, underscoring its growing prominence in the African healthcare technology sector. In a notable achievement on September 18, 2023, Pharmarun successfully raised $50,000 through a grant awarded by Investing In Innovation Africa. Adding to its accolades, Pharmarun has been in the spotlight for its victory in the prestigious Pitch2Win startup competition, held on July 24, 2023. This competition, which highlights promising startups, awarded Pharmarun a prize of $10,000, recognizing its innovative business model and potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery. Investing In Innovation Africa, Pitch2win, and Fedha Capital are key investors in Pharmarun, playing a pivotal role in its growth and development in the healthcare technology sector.

Competitive differentiator

Pharmarun’s competitive differentiators in the health-tech market are rooted in its unique blend of technological innovation, strategic partnerships, and service delivery approach. These differentiators set it apart from other players in the field and provide it with a competitive edge:

  • Integrated pharmacy network: Pharmarun’s platform aggregates inventories from multiple pharmacies, creating a comprehensive database of medications. This integration is likely powered by sophisticated data management systems, enabling real-time inventory tracking and a broader medication selection than individual pharmacies can offer.
  • Advanced logistic optimization: Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technologies, Pharmarun optimizes delivery routes. This system is enhanced with machine learning algorithms that analyze traffic patterns and delivery schedules, ensuring efficient and timely medication delivery, a crucial differentiator in urgent care scenarios.

Relevant regulatory and compliance requirements

Pharmarun’s adherence to pharmaceutical regulations involves compliance with standards set by national health agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria and international standards like those of the World Health Organization (WHO). This involves strict guidelines on drug safety, proper labeling, storage conditions, and handling procedures to prevent contamination or degradation of medications. Compliance here is critical for patient safety and maintaining the therapeutic efficacy of medications.

Partnerships and collaborations

Pharmarun has announced several partnerships and collaborations to enhance healthcare access and empower female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

  • Pharmarun and Shecluded have partnered to empower women entrepreneurs and enhance healthcare access in Nigeria.
  • Pharmarun and Clafiya have teamed up to make healthcare more accessible and convenient in Nigeria.
  • Pharmarun participated in the Lagos Startup Expo to connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas, and build valuable collaborations.
  • Pharmarun is a cloud-based technology platform that collaborates with numerous pharmacies, financial partners, and logistics providers to simplify how Africans access medications through the use of technology.


I have been using Pharmarun for a while now, and what I really love about them is how I can buy my medications now and pay later when I can. My health doesn’t have to suffer even when I’m broke.” Charles (Customer)

“They always come faster than I expect. One of the first few times, I ordered at 4 p.m., and it was delivered before 7 p.m. that day. I’ve had no bad experience with Pharmarun.” Maaro (Customer)

Areas of continuous improvement

  • Technology upgrades and integration: Continuous improvement in its technological infrastructure is vital. This includes upgrading its database systems for better inventory management, enhancing the user interface of its platform for a more seamless customer experience, and integrating the latest advancements in machine learning and analytics for improved service personalization.
  • Sustainability practices: As Pharmarun grows, focusing on sustainable business practices becomes important. This could include environmentally friendly packaging for deliveries, reducing carbon footprints in logistics, and sustainable sourcing policies.
  • Innovation and new service offerings: Exploring new areas of service, such as telehealth integration, wellness programs, or expanding into new geographical areas, could help Pharmarun stay ahead in the market.





Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions, content, and analysis in my posts are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of any current or past employers or institutional affiliations. These posts, based solely on publicly available information, are for informational purposes and should not be taken as professional advice. All insights and conclusions are my viewpoints and should not be considered representative of any organizations I am or have been associated with. This content is not endorsed by, nor does it represent the stance of any affiliated entity.


Hiequity Team

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