A new pharmacy start-up, medl, has launched in Trinidad with over 100 doctors on board. In a statement, medl said that unlike unregulated online pharmacies, it is the first in the region to be fully compliant with local legislation and regulations, adhering to international security standards and sourcing medication solely from licensed distributors.
Medl’s app allows patients to order prescription medication delivered to their door within three days from its in-house pharmacy; its pharmacists also call patients to manage their medication. The company, formed by development economist and Newsday columnist Kiran Mathur Mohammed and his business partner Edward Inglefield, was one of five in Latin America and the Caribbean to win a US$150,000 grant from the Inter-American Development Bank.
Medl’s senior adviser, endocrinologist Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh, said via the release that in the era of telemedicine, it is good that someone came up with the idea of teleportimg medicines to the doorstep of patients.
"This small step could mean a giant leap for many who lack mobility.”
The idea for medl came after Mathur Mohammed and Inglefield saw the challenges their families faced in managing medication for their grandparents. Medl’s experienced pharmacy team is led by senior pharmacist Katisha Narinesingh.
Mathur Mohammed said in the release: “It’s unacceptable that six in ten people in the Caribbean die from chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. What makes this worse is that almost all of these can be completely managed with existing medication. As it is, one in two scripts are never filled.”
The company aims to save patients time and hassle, while allowing them access to confidential delivery and continual medication care. As medl uses a centralised pharmacy, it saves on overhead costs, which allowsit to offer free delivery and competitive medication costs.
“We believe healthcare can and should be simpler,” said Inglefield. “Right now, there are so many pain points in the way of people getting their medication- time, hassle, access, cost and information. We looked at the process from start to finish, interviewing more than 60 doctors to identify and remove each pain point.”
Doctors use medl’s proprietary portal to send prescriptions to the patient app. More than a hundred doctors have already signed up, including respected senior specialists such as Prof Teelucksingh, orthopaedic surgeon David Toby and telehealth pioneer Dr Alexandra Ames.
Dr Renata Pooran of the Renand clinic, who is already using the platform with her patients, said: “It is a very user-friendly, interactive and well executed platform. The app is an excellent tool that allows easy accessibility to medication at an affordable cost to patients with the ease of home delivery. I think it will greatly assist in the management of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes by improving patient compliance with medication.”
The IDB Lab panel noted: “(This is) a service that will support health and wellness of persons using prescribed medications with an immediate focus on elderly persons and persons afflicted with NCDs in the context of covid19, by supporting medicinal compliance, reducing exposure and reducing costs to users of the platform. We wish to recognise the commitment, innovation and professionalism of the medl team in securing these resources through a very competitive process.”
Medl has launched in Port of Spain and along the East-West Corridor up to Arima (with selected drop-off locations in Central and South Trinidad) and will roll out across Trinidad.
This is just the start. According to medl’s founders: “There’s no reason why a TT-born company shouldn’t be at the forefront of innovation across the developing world”.
Anyone who wants to sign-up can download the app and ask a medl doctor to prescribe, or call medl’s customer service team at 610-6335. A list of medl doctors is available on the website, www.medl.co. Medl currently works with all insurers and will be rolling out in-app insurance claims in the coming weeks. Doctors interested in signing up can visit the medl website.