Online pharmacy in Africa: Supporting Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agencies to Advance Access

Written By

  • Sieglinder Mghenyi
  • Boye Yisa
  • Mara Hansen Staples
  • Dunni Lawal
  • Remi Adeseun

We’re thrilled to be launching new work

The recent expansion of e-pharmacy platforms in many geographies across the African continent creates a new channel that has the potential to help expand access to many essential health commodities. However, regulations and guidelines that govern direct-to-consumer/e-pharmacy/online pharmacy care for essential medicines (including contraceptive products) are often non-existent, currently in development or brand new. Regulations that enable innovation while protecting patient safety are critical to the channel’s impact on access to care. Regulatory bodies such as pharmacy councils or poison boards are making rapid progress but are often stretched thin. Early meetings with regulatory leaders in pharmacy councils and poison boards suggested they would benefit from joint-learning and funding for pilot testing or support.

Goals of the design project

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Family Planning team, the project is designing a mechanism to offer demand-driven support to priority Anglophone and Francophone African country regulatory agencies as they establish and implement regulatory and policy guidelines that enable direct-to-consumer access to essential health commodities (including contraceptives) via e-pharmacies.

Design process and timelines

This process is co-designing with interested regulators a technical assistance fund and joint learning mechanism, selecting a local partner to manage the program, and supporting the submission of a proposal to launch and manage the fund to the Gates Foundation. The design process is beginning in December of 2022 and will take nine months.

Project Team

This project is led by Salient in collaboration with technical advisors. The Salient team includes Sieglinder Mghenyi, Boye Yisa and Oladunni Lawal who bring a combined 25 years in public health and consulting. Mara Hansen Staples and Pharmacist Remi Adeseun provide oversight.

Senior technical advisors on Anglophone and Francophone geographies include: Dr. Romuald Mbwasi (Apotheker Consultancy (T) Ltd, Tanzania) who brings 35 years of experience in regulatory reform in the pharmaceutical sector, Pharmacist Elijah Mohammed (former registrar/CEO of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and the founder of ADI Healthcare Initiative) brings a wealth of practical and strategic expertise to guide the effort, and Dr. Placide Tapsoba from Burkina Faso, is a public health physician with extensive experience in large health program strategies, multi-sectoral partner support, strategic guidance and coordination, and leadership with particular focus on maternal, neonatal and child health and comprehensive reproductive health and rights.

We will be sharing updates and analyses throughout the process. Interested in supporting regulators or learning more about this work? Get in touch!


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