The Egyptian Pharmacists Syndicate has accused Ibnsina Pharma of misusing 3elagi, the healthtech startup which it acquired major stakes in last week. The syndicate accused Ibnsina of selling its products directly to consumers through 3elagi’s app. The Pharmacists Syndicate gave Ibnsina Pharma 48 hours to close the app on Wednesday. Since then, the syndicate has stopped its dealings with both entities.
3elagi helps users acquire the medication they need easily. Users simply photograph their prescription and select the medication they need which is delivered to their home. The startup does not own the inventory of over-the-counter nor prescription drugs but works as a last-mile online marketplace. It was partially acquired by Ibnsina Pharma last week, the founders still have a stake in the company along with Falak Startups.
“Falak Startups stands by 3elagi, as we do with all our portfolio companies, notably when it comes to misconceptions on their operations. 3elagi has shown incredible progress and traction which wouldn’t have been achieved if it weren’t for the trust their customers and service providers (pharmacies) put in them.” Karima El Hakim, Head of Investor Relations at Falak Startups said to WAYA. “With any tech-disruption, we’ve seen resistance by the traditional players; adoption usually comes with conviction and some education. We are confident that the syndicate will recognize the value that 3elagi adds to the ecosystem and the access they provide to the local stand-alone pharmacies who struggle to keep their business afloat,” she added.
The syndicate has always held the line that a single pharmacy, owned by a single pharmacist, is the only legal means of dispensing medication outside a hospital setting, according to Enterprise. Additionally, the syndicate may be concerned with curbing the power of wholesalers like Ibnsina, since they could eventually put retail pharmacies out of business by selling directly to consumers, the publication speculates.
Ibnsina denies the claim that it has broken the law. The pharmaceutical distributor released a statement where it said that it does not sell medications directly to consumers through the app.
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