The Journey to Vezeeta’s ePharmacy

We look back to the standpoint where Vezeeta started and what led this Cairo-born startup to be the Middle East and Africa’s leading healthcare platform.
The Journey to Vezeeta’s ePharmacy

On February 2nd we received an e-mail announcing that Vezeeta, Middle East and Africa’s leading digital healthcare platform, has officially launched its ePharmacy, after piloting it for almost six months in Cairo and Giza. Exactly nine years ago, Ahmed Badr founded “DrBridge” with Amir Barsoum. Two years later, they rebranded to Vezeeta due to issues with the business model and how the market received it.

To date, Vezeeta has raised $67.5 million since April 2012 from a very diverse pool of investors; these include STV, Silicon Badia, Technology Development Fund, International Finance Corporation, Gulf Capital, BECO Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst and Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures.

Vezeeta in the Pandemic

Responding to the state of panic spread everywhere around the world in 2020, Vezeeta launched its telehealth services in KSA, Egypt, as well as Nigeria and Kenya, targeting underserved communities who would rather speak to a doctor on the phone rather than go in person. During that time more than 40,000 patients used Vezeeta’s telehealth service in Egypt, and more than 2,500 in Saudi Arabia.

As it was for probably everyone, 2020 was a busy year for Vezeeta. As of April 2020, Vezeeta’s footprint could be traced in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Kenya. 

In May, the Egyptian Ministry of Health joined hands with Vezeeta and pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca under the theme ‘Your Health Your Power,’ to spread awareness about the COVID-19 crisis to curb the spread and flatten the curve.

Also in July, Vezeeta partnered with MSD Egypt, an affiliate of the global pharmaceutical leader, to conduct digital awareness and engagement among patients and healthcare providers, alike. The collaboration primarily focused on increasing public health awareness by providing MSD’s authentic medical information and scientific updates to doctors on Vezeeta’s platform via its digital channels in Egypt.

“Today, we’re witnessing the golden era of Egyptian tech, and we aim to further the government’s tireless efforts to drive healthcare advancement and become frontrunners within the African continent. The ePharmacy launch is positioned to do just that,” says Amir Barsoum, co-founder and CEO of Vezeeta. 

The ePharmacy

In March, the boom in the pharmaceutical industry inspired Vezeeta to jump on that bandwagon and take a slice of this pie. But it wasn’t until August when they finally added the feature on their app, only piloting in Cairo and Giza. Having served 1 million patients so far, the Vezeeta Pharmacy is powered by an in-house logistics team that helps drive delightful end-to-end pharmacy experiences for all users. 

Through the mobile app, Vezeeta users can upload their e-prescriptions, add their insurance preference, choose cash or cashless payment options before checking out, and schedule same-day home deliveries in Cairo and Giza. Patients can also combine their pharmacy experience with doctors’ teleconsultations, as well as 24/7 access to licensed pharmacists and customer care providers, meeting their healthcare needs seamlessly, from start to finish.

“We first digitally integrated doctors within our healthcare ecosystem, and now we are doing the same for pharmacists,” said Maha Melhem, VP of ePharmacy, Vezeeta. “Our pharmacists receive excellent training and compensation to ensure a fulfilling experience for every user, every time they log onto the Vezeeta app. We adhere to strict hygiene standards through our unique high-quality packaging, and we make sure that patients can rely on us for the delivery of essential medications in 60-minutes or less. It is key that our users get the most value out of their transactions with Vezeeta” she added.

The e-solution is an integral part of Vezeeta’s extensive healthcare portfolio that includes physical and virtual doctors’ consultations, as well as access to labs and scans – all designed to drive accessibility and affordability in healthcare.

The majority (68%) of Vezeeta’s ePharmacy users have utilized the solution for managing their chronic diseases. “We believe more users will find tremendous value in this digital-first healthcare solution, that can drastically improve health outcomes,” said Khaled Atef, MD of Egypt, Vezeeta. 

If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.