Dakar — A Ghana-based startup has received $1.5m from eBbay billionaire Jeff Skoll to support its work in changing Africa’s pharmaceutical industry to make medicines more affordable. mPharma is one of five social businesses to receive awards from the Skoll Foundation at this week’s Skoll World Forum, Britain’s leading event for social enterprise. Pharmacy owners in African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria have to negotiate prices individually with drug suppliers, meaning the same medicine can cost different amounts in different pharmacies, said mPharma founder Gregory Rockson. Because there is little regulation, drug prices are marked up by middlemen and often become exorbitant, he said. Bulk prices  mPharma works by managing drug supply for multiple pharmacies, so it can negotiate bulk prices and redistribute medicines as needed. The pharmacists only pay for what they sell, which incentivises mPharma to keep prices low. “We want every African patient to be able to get access to ...

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