The company focuses on quality and customer service to guarantee healthier lifestyles
The health sector forms a major component of the social pillar of the Vision 2030, with a goal of developing a healthy and productive population. A healthy nation plays a key role in the growth of a country by actively participating in other sectors of the economy. In spite of this, Kenya is still struggling with increased disease burden and an undersupply of important health infrastructure. This leaves the question on what should be done to ensure the health sector progresses towards the right direction.
It is through this understanding that Goodlife Pharmacy was established in 2013 with the aim of helping the nation to look and feel good one person at a time. The professional pharmacy focuses on providing high-quality individual customer care at an affordable price and convenient locations across the region.
The pharmacy chain previously operated under the brand name Mimosa before rebranding to Goodlife, as part of its expansion strategy. “In 2016, we received financing from a private equity firm Leapfrog Investments to aid in rebranding and further expansion,” says Amaan Khalfan, the chief executive officer.
Today, Goodlife has grown in leaps and bounds from a small enterprise to become one of the fastest growing pharmacy and health hubs in the East Africa region. “We have quickly grown to about 39 stores, with plans to expand our footprint to 55 by the end of the year and over 100 stores across the region over the next five years,” says the CEO.
Its expansion strategy involves acquisition of existing pharmacies and setting up stand-alone units in locations with large traffic such as shopping malls and petrol stations. Currently, the company has three types of expansion models including flagship, classics and neighborhoods. The models are differentiated by the clientele and the type of products sold. “What is sold is determined by the locality and the social economic needs of each area.”
The expansion is an important step towards consolidating Kenya’s retail pharmaceutical industry, and ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality products
The company has also created employment opportunities, with a staff base of 225, most of whom are pharmaceutical professionals. As Goodlife, we pride ourselves in continuous development of our teams, in which case we have heavily invested in regular training for our teams across the estate to enable them offer quality and efficient service to both our internal and external customers.
Goodlife is committed to excellence in pharmacy practice and standards. It is also a trusted pharmacy brand that is dedicated to delivering high-quality products and services. The pharmacy has a range of offerings that are backed by highly skilled staff to ensure their customers get the best experience. They are divided into four different groups which are pharmaceutical, health care, over the counter, and personal care products. The offerings are intended to make the patients better educated, besides providing the right solutions for their medical issues.
Furthermore, the company has started offering nutrition services motivated by the rising incidences of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. “We advise our clients on their nutrition needs to help them live healthier lifestyles,” offers Khalfan. Plans are underway to bring nutrition specialists to the stores to offer advanced dietary education to the patients.
The pharmacy has also invested in the area of telemedicine where it provides health assessments and consultations to its clients through electronic means. This development has improved access to medical services by overcoming the distance barrier. According to Khalfan, the services are offered at much lower rates compared to in-person visit.
“During rebranding and detailed segmentation of the market, we realized there was a product range that was needed for different sectors. We therefore set the good-better-best model where we were able to have solutions ranging across segments from high-end, middle to low-end,” reveals the CEO.
Goodlife also organizes medical camps in different areas across the country, where it offers screening services and helps patients have better access to cheaper pharmaceutical products. They take place once in every two weeks and attract between 80 and 100 people. “By accessing the health status of people in a specific area, we are able to tailor-make other programmes in our subsequent visits.”
Focusing on Quality
Maintaining quality standards of the drugs requires the company to have solid links with manufacturers and suppliers. It understands its supply chain, deals with reputable suppliers, buys products designated only for the Kenyan market, and sources its products directly from the manufacturers.
The Pharmacy has also differentiated itself from other providers in the market by continuously training its pharmacists and conducting prescription audits. It also advices its patients on possible drug reaction in case they are under other medications.
Additionally, it works closely with the Kenya pharmaceutical regulator, Pharmacy and poisons’ board (PPB) and the pharmaceutical professional bodies; Pharmaceutical society of Kenya (PSK) and the Kenya Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) to address the issue of sub-standard or counterfeit drugs in the market.
“We also work very closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) calendar, which helps us tailor our projects based on the particular event of the month.”
Khalfan feels that there is a large market for high quality, affordable and reliable pharmaceutical products. There is also room for good customer service and for expansion of product range. “We are currently working with Kenyan companies manufacturing generic drugs in order to use a drug regimen that is cheaper and accessible.”
Goodlife is also working with community groups outside Nairobi, therefore taking healthcare to other regions.
The CEO however notes that the city is still underserved since investors are scared to invest in certain areas. “Our plan is to expand into such areas through a safe model.”
The pharmaceutical industry experiences a range of challenges. To start with is the issue of counterfeit drugs. A research conducted around two years ago showed that about 50 percent of over the counter drugs are counterfeit. In addition, other drugs that are not designated for the Kenyan market enter the country through a secondary channel. Khalfan feels that there is need to tailor products for the Kenyan market.
Besides, many small pharmacies across the country engage the services of untrained pharmacists, something that may compromise quality of care.
To a large extent, the cost of healthcare is very expensive, and this is attributed to the high cost of branded drugs that lack substitutes.
In spite of these challenges, Goodlife is committed to continue with its expansion model while maintaining quality. Plans are underway to open new stores in various regions of the country and continue to be a medical hub for the people that it serves.