Samwel Doe @samweldoe
Goodlife Pharmacy, a chain of chemists that offers professional pharmacy health and beauty care services has launched a campaign to help Kenyans monitor their health closely, obtain effective low-cost medicines, and receive timely advice. According to Dr. Robert Kimbui, Chief Pharmacist, Goodlife Pharmacy now provides a range of generic medications which are far cheaper than branded products.
This ensures that no customer leaves a store without a solution to their health care needs. Furthermore, Goodlife says that their pharmacy team are trained to recognize when illness can easily be treated with quality over-the-counter treatments versus prescription medicines.
According to Dr. Kimbui, “Too often viral infections are treated with antibiotics when patients receive incorrect advice. An antibiotic does nothing to a virus while over- the-counter remedies can help the patient be more comfortable while getting through the viral infection.” Dr. Robert Kimbui, Goodlife chief pharmacist Furthermore, Dr. Kimbui added, “Price is frequently a key determinant in the health care outcomes of Kenyan consumers.
Too often in the region, patients end up purchasing medication based on price. This can lead to poor compliance. By educating consumers about the generics used everywhere else in the world, we are positioned to provide affordable and effective treatment regimens for a wide range of disease.”
In the interview with Health Business Magazine Dr. Kimbui further noted that since at least 80 per cent of Kenyans pay for healthcare expenses out of their own pockets, it’s important to have trusted providers that are looking out for the consumers’ wallet. Thus, Goodlife staff are trained to ensure that every client who walks in receives affordable and appropriate medication.
The Chief Pharmacist said that Goodlife has designed a formulary that comprises a comprehensive mix of brand and generic medications. The population is accustomed to brand name drugs as being the only effective option, but generic options dramatically reduce the cost of medication and are just as effective.
In the United States and Europe more than 90% of all prescriptions are filled with generic drugs – the opposite is true in East Africa. The shift to generic medication is especially important at a time when chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are on the rise in Kenya.
Currently millions of Kenyans who should be in treatment are not, in part because of drug costs, and in part because they are unaware of their condition. Nearly all chronic disease treatment can benefit tremendously from generic drugs.
Studies on diabetes care in the country show that there are very few sustainable measures for the maintenance of regular medications of diabetics because of personal cost constraints, which result in irregular treatment that lead to more expensive complications and hospital admissions later.
Goodlife offers a full range of affordable diabetes management products from oral medications to insulin and glucose monitoring devices. Goodlife also offers pharmaceutical advice and professional services such as blood pressure testing, glucose testing, Body Mass Index, malaria testing, ear piercing and personalized medical reviews free of charge. It has also partnered with the Ministry of Health in their HIV self- test program.
It is the first regional chain to offer private consultation rooms in all store formats and also among the first to obtain Kenya’s Green Cross certification from the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya. Goodlife Pharmacy Limited has grown through various acquisitions and new sites, with the first acquisition being Mimosa Pharmacy in August 2014.
The founders of Goodlife created the pharmacy chain to reduce the impact of the medical poverty trap – the phenomenon whereby a serious illness and the related health costs push a family into poverty. The Company now has 34 pharmacy outlets in Kenya and 2 in Uganda to help alleviate this situation.
For a country with one of the highest per capita, out-of-pocket expenditures on health, even the modest drop in drug prices Goodlife is promoting will free thousands of households from this trap and help their family members live longer more productive lives.