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Home Startups Ghana’s mPharma launches in Ethiopia as it pushes its pan-African expansion dream

Ghana’s mPharma launches in Ethiopia as it pushes its pan-African expansion dream

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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Ghana’s mPharma, a technology-driven healthcare company has launched in Ethiopia as it pursues its pan-African expansion dream, nearly two years after it acquired Kenya’s Haltons Ltd, the second-largest pharmacy chain with over 27 stores across the country.

mPharma has signed a franchise agreement with Belayab Pharmaceuticals PLC to increase patient access to affordable and quality medications in Ethiopia, through its subsidiary, Haltons Limited. Through the franchise, mPharma and Belayab Pharmaceuticals aims to open two operational pharmacies in Addis Ababa this year.

In a statement, Gregory Rockson, CEO mPharma, said: “mPharma is connecting and empowering an inclusive universal medical coverage that benefits everyone in Africa by making access to healthcare affordable and safe. We are excited to be entering the Ethiopian market in partnership with Belayab Pharmaceuticals as we continue to build our long-standing commitment to partnerships for the good health of patients. This is an opportunity to develop a commercially-sustainable and scalable health impact in Ethiopia by improving access to quality essential medicines that will help the society-at-large so that everyone can benefit from affordable and safe treatment.”

Headquartered in Ghana, mPharma, is currently operational in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Rwanda, and Kenya and serves about a million patients every year through over 300 partner pharmacies and provides patients with affordable and high-quality medicines in its quest to build an Africa that is in good health.

In June last year, mPharma raised $17m from UK’s CDC Group to drive supply chain efficiencies for pharmaceuticals in Africa. The investment was co-led by the CDC Group under Venture Scale-Up Programme. The firm had earlier received $1.5m from the Skoll Foundation for the 2019 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship as well a $6.6 million Series A round led by India’s Shravin Bharti Mittal, Social Capital, Golden Palm Investments and 4DX Ventures among others. In 2015, the firm raised $5 million led by Social Capital.

mPharma will leverage its technology platforms, insights, and extensive experience working with hospitals and retail pharmacies across Africa to help Ethiopia achieve universal medical coverage to all its patients.

Under this partnership, each pharmacy launched will offer Mutti – mPharma’s health membership program – to patients in Ethiopia. Patients will benefit from discounts on their drugs and financing options that can help alleviate the costs of healthcare. Mutti will particularly benefit uninsured patients in Ethiopia who pay out-of-pocket for their medication and therefore bear the brunt of high drug prices.

“The entrance of Haltons Pharmacy will give patients a larger selection and convenience in Ethiopia through a consistent list of options at each location. Pharmacies in Ethiopia are largely driven by family businesses and there is a lack of consistent availability of products throughout the country. Haltons will be a crucial driver to help deliver critical drugs and products to patients throughout the country, including underserved areas.” said Michael Ghebru, Shareholder, Belayab Pharmaceuticals.

 “Ethiopia’s healthcare needs are growing in volume and complexity by the day. It is therefore critical to craft strong partnerships that move us closer to providing quality and broad healthcare coverage for the country. We are proud to be partnering with mPharma through their Haltons subsidiary to achieve improved healthcare in the country,” said Belayab Pharmaceuticals Managing Director & Shareholder Robel Minassie.

The partnership highlights the strong commitment of both organizations to ensuring that medicines of all kinds are made accessible and affordable for all Ethiopians.

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