Drugs Supplier MEDS Sees More Money in Diabetes Drugs

In Events, General
Novo Nordisk (left) General Manager Venkat Kalyan and MEDS Managing Director Paschal Manyuru cut the tape to officially open the cold room.

Rising cases of diabetes in Kenya and the region is providing a higher demand for drugs and has prompted drugs supplier MEDS to invest a storage facility and make more money.

Regional drugs supplier Mission of Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) has set up a high-tech cold room that will enhance storage of medicines and boost its capacity to serve clients.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), about 2.4 per cent of adult population (representing more than 478,000 people) is living with diabetes.

The number is set to rise to 1.1 million by 2040, if the current trend is not reversed. This represents a projected growth of 135 per cent.

Alarmingly, today, almost 60 per cent of people with diabetes in Kenya remain undiagnised.

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Unfailing supply of insulin

The facility, which was inaugurated on Friday, is seen as a major boost to the nearly half a million diabetes patients in Kenya who will now get uninterrupted supply of insulin, the drug used to manage blood level sugar for diabetics.

MEDS Managing Director Paschal Manyuru srid the cold room occupies an area of 55 square metres, which will take accommodate up to 448 vials of insulin, or 48,384 flex pens, sufficient to serve over 25,000 patients.


The Sh12 million cold room was partly financed by Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company and leading supplier of human insulin, as part of the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) public-private partnership project launched in Kenya in 2012.

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Through the project Novo Nordisk, working with other partners, has among other initiatives helped to lower the price of insulin by more than 70 percent, from a high of Sh2,000 to just Sh500.

Mr Manyuru said the larger and modern cold room comes as a relief not just to MEDS and its partners but to people living with diabetes. MEDS has been supplying insulin to 27 counties in Kenya for the last five years under the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) programme.

Opportunity for more action

He said it has, however, been experiencing challenges in storing due to limited size of cold room space as the BoP project has generated a significant increase in the demand for insulin.

“We need to work in partnerships to ensure sustainability of the fight against diabetes. We see it is both a corporate responsibility and a business opportunity to support local health authorities and organisations in making sure that insulin is accessible and affordable to the middle and low income patients,” said Venkat Kalyan, the General Manager of Novo Nordisk, Middle East and Africa.

About BoP

The BoP project is an initiative that aims to increase access to comprehensive diabetes care and insulin for the people with low income in developing countries.

The project is currently running in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and India and is being launched in Senegal in 2017.

In Kenya, the BoP project is a public-private partnership between Novo Nordisk, the Kenya Ministry of Health, the Local County Governments, the Royal Danish Embassy, Phillips Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops & Christian Health Association Kenya (faith-based organisations) and the Kenya Defeat Diabetes Association.


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