MedSource is Kenya’s first private commercial group purchasing organization for quality-assured medicines and health supplies. An independent subsidiary of MSH established in 2017, MedSource helps its members—pharmacies, hospitals, clinical laboratories, and other health care providers—realize savings and efficiencies by aggregating purchasing volume and using that leverage to negotiate discounts with manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other vendors. MedSource also offers its members business training and financing options.
Bringing the Private Sector to Public Health: How Business Innovation Can Improve Health Care Access
Shaping 21st Century Health Supply Chains: The Positives and Pitfalls of Pooled Procurement
Chief Executive Officer of MedSource LLC
Vinod Guptan, Chief Executive Officer of MedSource, a Kenyan group purchasing organization for medicines, medical products and technologies, has over 28 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having led operations, sales, marketing, strategic planning, and distribution for companies across Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia.
Before joining MedSource, Guptan was General Manager, Sales & Marketing, of Surgipharm, a Kenyan distributor of pharmaceutical, surgical, medical equipment and over-the-counter products. He has been involved in a number of successful start-ups throughout his career, including re-launching Abacus Pharma in Kenya to strengthen its production capability of IV fluid and branded generic products in East Africa.
Guptan is the Board Director and the Chairman of the Supply Chain Committee of the Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF), the health sector board of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), the umbrella representative body dedicated to engaging the government and all relevant stakeholders working to achieve quality health care through enabling policies that maximize the contributions of the private sector. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI).
Guptan holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Studies and a Bachelor’s of Science from Parle College, University of Mumbai, India. He is fluent in English, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali, Kiswahili, Konkani, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
MSH focuses on strengthening health systems by understanding the whole system. From urban hospitals to remote rural clinics, a significant cross-cutting feature of a successful health system is the availability of high quality pharmaceuticals. Based on our 50 years of experience in health system strengthening in more than 150 countries, MSH knows that it is vital to engage the private sector to create sustainable local businesses that enable countries to build their own health systems effectively for the long term.
What is MedSource’s relationship to MSH?
MedSource is owned by MSH but operates independently with its own governance structure, including a board of directors, staff, and a management team. Our research and experience show that when people in low- and middle-income countries are sick, they often seek treatment from a private-sector provider—such as a retail pharmacy—first. By establishing a GPO to help private pharmacies and other health facilities procure products, we’re using a new way to address barriers that may exist for people in accessing safe, quality assured, and affordable medicines.
How does MedSource work?
MedSource seeks to reduce costs while guaranteeing quality across the entire pharmaceutical supply chain through our members. We work with manufacturers and distributors to give our members better access to quality-assured medical supplies at negotiated costs. Members can use the MedSource platform to place their orders directly with suppliers. MedSource does not purchase or stock medicines and supplies on behalf of its members, who can continue to operate independently and conduct business with non-MedSource suppliers. MedSource also helps members build sustainable businesses and gives them the tools they need to grow and prosper. Services include:
- Supporting training on business skills, pharmacy practices, and inventory management
- Working with financial partners to facilitate access to credit for members
- Providing information technology solutions for improved integration and tracking of business transactions
How do MedSource members benefit?
Members benefit from purchasing medicines of assured quality at lower costs. They also benefit from access to credit to expand their businesses, capacity building services, and technology solutions. For example, members are offered access to software to manage their inventory and prevent stock-outs. The ultimate beneficiaries of MedSource are the patients who, by seeking services through participating health providers, are guaranteed quality-assured products and an increased likelihood of a better health outcome.
How does a group purchasing organization work?
A group purchasing organization (GPO) allows independent pharmacies, pharmacy chains, hospitals, and other health care providers to buy goods and services at better prices than are usually available to them. It does this by leveraging the combined buying power of its member pharmacies and negotiating discounts with manufacturers, distributors, and other vendors. Because of the economies of scale, every member reaps benefits similar to the largest volume purchaser.
As a GPO, MedSource’s purpose is to improve accessibility and availability of affordable, quality medication and laboratory and health supplies for health care providers and ultimately the population at large.