The Singapore headquartered mClinica has recently reached a milestone to become the largest pharmacy data technology player in Southeast Asia: its platform is now being used by 1 in every 2 pharmacists in the Philippines, 1 in every 3 pharmacists in Indonesia and 1 in every 4 pharmacists in Vietnam.
About one and a half years ago, mClinica started from just 1,500 pharmacy professionals in the Philippines and Indonesia and today it reaches out to well over 100,000 pharmacy professionals across Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. mClinica was founded by CEO Farouk Meralli in 2013, who saw in Southeast Asia that markets were struggling with inefficient supply chains, poorly trained pharmacists, incomplete information on pharmaceutical products and legacy bottlenecks.
“We want make a positive impact and confront the difficult challenges in this space. We are here to change the way pharmacies operate and provide a platform so we can provide better health care outcomes for the public,” said Meralli.
A trio of pharmacy tech platforms
The company has a three-pronged approach with its trio offering of pharmacy technology platforms: Connect (for pharmaceutical companies), SnapRx (for governments and NGOs) and SwipeRx (for pharmacies and pharmacy professionals). mClinica initially opened in the market with Connect which enabled the company to establish their relationship with big pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Merck, Novartis and Bayer. The Connect platform was used to run patient affordability discounting programmes, pilot patient access programmes to drive better patient health outcomes and navigate previously inaccessible communities in Southeast Asia to reveal new sources of health data.
On the back of the success of Connect, mClinica then developed SnapRx; a proprietary mobile application that electronically digitised prescriptions using machine learning and image recognition to move across the value chain and address challenges at the pharmacy-level. With SnapRx, instead of dealing with paper records that were often mishandled or lost, pharmacies could now seamlessly digitise prescriptions through the mobile app.
Once the prescription data was aggregated in mClinica’s database, mClinica used their internal data analytics platform to provide computations of real-time public health data and provide deep insight at a forensic level of drug distribution and dispensation in these previously nebulous markets.
Governments and NGOs quickly saw the appeal of this platform and the platform was recently mandated by the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to exclusively provide public health insights and health outcomes. The DOH-FDA did not previously have a national health information system and database but in a matter of months mClinica was able to provide the solution at no cost to the government. Now for the first time, the Philippines has the ability to monitor disease outbreaks, predict healthcare trends and root budgeting for financial expenditures based on actual, real-time data.
In keeping with mClinica’s mission of connecting pharmacies, mClinica launched SwipeRx, which started as a simple professional network to solve all the needs of pharmacy professionals. By bringing together news, discussion forums, drug information, accredited education and other tools it sought to solve real pain points for pharmacists and pharmacy professionals. It quickly morphed into a social networking juggernaut that now connects a community of more than 100,000 pharmacy professionals.
SwipeRx is now the largest mobile provider of accredited continuing education for pharmacists in Southeast Asia having educated more than 10,000 pharmacists in a matter of months. It is also the largest crowdsourced database of pharmacy-related answers having generated over 40,000 answers on everything from drug dosing advice to advice on symptom recognition since the feature’s release late last year.
For its next step, mClinica hopes it can work towards a marketplace, a pharmaceutical distribution platform or even a fully connected solution for an integrated pharmaceutical supply chain.