A hybrid eHub of drugs and medical consumables in Nigeria

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UPDATE: March, 2021

mHealth Compendium, Volume 5
Published by:
Management Sciences for Health
Originally published:
June, 2015



The information below appeared in the original case study.


Integra Health Nigeria


Integra Health Nigeria

CONTACT (as Listed in Original Case Study)

Adham Yehia
Integra Health Nigeria



Target Users

Health System Manager

Enabling Environment Building Blocks

Services and Applications

Family Planning Program Classification

Supply Chain Management

This case study was originally published in the mHealth Compendium Volume 5, developed by the African Strategies for Health project, implemented by Management Sciences for Health with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Updates to the original case study appear in the final section of this case study.


The Nigerian healthcare market is characterized by an abundance of substandard, counterfeit drugs. In 2001, it was estimated that about 50 percent of all drugs within the market were fake. This rate is said to have fallen over the next five years by about 80 percent following aggressive action by the Nigerian National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

This problem is further exacerbated by a fragmented drug system, where health providers often purchase from multiple wholesalers, directly from manufacturers, and from open air drug markets simultaneously. This system leads to inefficiencies in the drug market, where prices are incomparable and opaque, and where health providers are unable to certify the quality of the drugs bought in the open drug markets or from unscrupulous distributors of drugs. No collated database exists that allows hospitals to view all available brand variations and make purchasing decisions based on the right pricing for their market. As a result of this fragmented system, prices often change sporadically and variety is limited to the health provider’s exposure to products they are familiar with. To put this in context, average drug prices in Nigeria range from two to 64 times the international prices in both private and public health facilities, according to a recent UNIDO report on the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector.

About Malawi Mobile Learning Pilot

DrugStoc is a hybrid between an eCommerce website, a desktop application, an Android application, and a networked chain of GPRS/SMS-enabled Android printers working in tandem to (1) eliminate reliance of medical facilities on the open air market for drug purchasing; (2) consolidate the drug supply commodity chain increasing the barrier of entry for substandard products; (3) improve the profitability of hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry by translating efficiency gains into monetary profit; and (4) build a database of location-based live pricing for drugs, consumables, and medical equipment in Nigeria.

DrugStoc launched its Beta site in 2015 at the co-creation hub in Yaba, Lagos. It was attended by the Director of Pharmacovigilance at NAFDAC as well as other relevant stakeholders.

With its picturesque, easy to use, and touch screen-adaptable features, DrugStoc can be used by any type of facility or individual with minimum training. Support call centers are manned by staff who can help facilities place and manage their orders. DrugStoc also offers a low-tech alternative for health facilities that are not connected to the Internet or which have poor computing infrastructure. This comes in the form of a catalog with designated operator codes which are linked to commodities on DrugStoc. These codes can be used to check for prices and place orders using the Android app, text messages, or the DrugStoc call center.

Evaluation and Results

Qualitative questionnaires were distributed among hospitals and pharmacies in Lagos State, Nigeria, while focus groups were conducted with health facility owners, procurement officers, and pharmacists. A limited Version 1.1 of DrugStoc was introduced in 12 facilities that completed the questionnaire. The key findings related to the efficiency in timing, pricing, and orders.

Fragmented ordering and the use of multiple sources for the same drug item was noted. Preliminary results from the closed pilot indicate a 94 percent average reduction of time spent ordering and managing supplies observed when the facility used Version 1.1 of DrugStoc to place orders. Price efficiency was also tracked: most facilities kept handwritten notes on the last purchase price of a drug item. Purchase price changes were sporadic and supplier dependent with the facility being informed about the price change during the re-ordering process. No maximum retail price (MRP) was observed with multiple suppliers offering the same drug item at a different price.

Finally, order supply time can vary between suppliers and is dependent on a distributor’s logistical capabilities, the distance from the supplier, and the monetary value of the items supplied. Item stock outs among suppliers were also noted, forcing facilities to look for alternative suppliers or asking the supplier to send an alternative brand within the same price range. All these factors reduce the efficiency and reliability of medicines orders, which DrugStoc aims to improve.

Lessons Learned

  • Scaling up the logistics unit is essential to maintaining a low service failure rate. Right now, DrugStoc relies on the logistics provided by the pharmaceutical distributors while optimizing specific parts of it. However, in order to run an efficient system, DrugStoc needs to invest in a fully developed logistical infrastructure that will complement its order generation capability.
  • Drugstoc has also developed a strategy for non-IT savvy users. Use of the DrugStoc catalog and call center presents an easy and efficient way for users to check prices and order items on DrugStoc via text messages, direct calls, or QR code scanning.


DrugStoc is an innovative hybrid online/offline drug distribution and inventory management solution that creates an efficient drug supply chain for health facilities while reducing order time, enhancing purchasing power, and significantly reducing the risk of purchasing counterfeit or substandard products.


Today, DrugStoc continues to support Nigeria’s health sector by providing an anticounterfeit pharmaceutical procurement platform for health workers to source needed medications, consumables, and small medical devices. DrugStoc supports the Procure Direct app, which provides the following capabilities to health workers:

  • pricing information
  • online payments
  • invoice management,
  • stock management and order tracking
  • saving favorite products for easy restocking

DrugStoc was awarded the Technology-Driven Distributor Company of the Year Award in the 2019 Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Awards. The same year, DrugStoc received investment funding from Growth Capital, a Nigerian-based cocreation hub innovation fund.


Project Updates

“Nigerian Healthtech DrugStoc Secures Investment from Growth Capital,” Venture Burn, June 28, 2019, https://ventureburn.com/2019/06/growth-capital-drugstoc-investment/.

DrugStoc (website), https://www.drugstoc.com/.

Note: this project update was produced by PRB based on the resource and reference listed above.