New mobile application brings together customers and pharmacies that do not have own delivery services for essential and over-the-counter medication.

A Wits honours graduand in quantity surveying has launched an application that facilitates the speedy delivery of prescription medication to patients.

Raees Carim (22) launched PharmaGo on March 1, and the app is available for downloading on Google Play for Android and the iOS App Store.

“PharmaGo facilitates the delivery of prescription and over-the-counter medication in as little as an hour, depending on the distance between the nearest participating network pharmacy and the customer,” Carim told Wits Vuvuzela.

The app acts as an aggregator, meaning that Carim doesn’t own a pharmacy nor sell medication. “I’ve just taken components that were already there in the market and I’ve connected them together, meaning I’ve given the pharmacy a platform to transact with the consumer, and the consumer an app to transact with the pharmacy,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

He said what makes his app stand out from those of retail stores such as Clicks or Dischem is that, “The app allows customers to upload a prescription and get delivery on your prescription and you can’t get that with your normal retail giants.”

A Clicks sales consultant who did not want to be named, told Wits Vuvuzela that while the store does allow customers to upload prescriptions to its app, however, “You would have to collect it at the [Clicks] store at the medication dispensary and they would alert you once the medication is ready for collection.”

PharmaGo connects its customers to local pharmacies that did not provide delivery services before the app and Carim feels “that way more care is taken in the [customer’s] order and [PharmaGo] is helping the local economy grow”.

“[The app’s] initial partnership harnesses a nationwide 73-strong extensive network of pharmacies (excluding Clicks and Dischem) in all nine provinces, with exclusive fee-free deliveries available within a radius of 20-50km, depending on the location,” said Carim.

However, customers are charged an additional 5% of their order to cover PharmaGo’s “costs and processing fees” according to Carim.

The idea to start this app came to Carim two years ago. “[My Family] had a relative who was sick all the time and we always needed to get medication outside of pharmacy hours and we found that getting deliveries of medication within the required time was quite impossible and to wait for three days for your medication it’s difficult for someone who needs it immediately.

“I came about with the idea because I knew there would be more people needing the service because they were experiencing the same thing,” he said.

The Johannesburg-based Carim says that PharmaGo is working on providing a 24-hour service. “At the moment we have a pilot project in Pretoria running and there’s a 24-hour facility with one of the pharmacies. We are trying that out and in future we hope to expand the operating hours a bit further,” he said.

FEATURED IMAGE: A potential client scrolling through PharmaGo’s services. Photo: Alfonso Nqunjana