Where was ED UY?: GENERIKA MED PADALA LAUNCH
VENUE: Chef Jessie Rockwell Club Makati
WRAP UP: Very informative although some presentations lasted a bit too long. MedPadala is an innovative concept that will benefit a lot of OFWs and those working away from their families.
I never thought a few degrees in temperature would be that important, but as it turns out, being stored in an air-conditioned environment helps maintain the efficacy and potency of medicines, not to mention the comfort and convenience for its customers.
This was just one of the many things I learned after attending the Generika Event held last week at the very exclusive Chef Jessie in Rockwell Club, Makati City on May 20, 2014. Organized by ROAR Communications, the event served not only introduced the drugstore endorsed by TV HOST Boy Abunda, but also addressed several important issues regarding Generic Medicines.
If you read the labels of the medicines, you will notice that many products specify storage at room temperature. What does that mean? According to the Food and Drug Administration has told its inspectors that 75 to 77 degrees is the sweet spot.
According to Dr. Sarah Westberg, associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, “Any medication, unless it specifies that it needs to be refrigerated, really needs to be kept at room temperature in a dry place away from heat, humidity and light. So the best place to keep medicines is in a medicine cabinet that’s outside of the bathroom and not on top of a refrigerator where there’s heat.”
Medicines exposed to heat she added may lose some efficacy of that medication. Nitroglycerin, for example [used to treat chest pain in people with cardiovascular disease] could be potentially a life-saving medicine, and if it doesn’t work that’s a big problem, versus if your ibuprofen doesn’t treat your headache as well, that’s an inconvenience, but you’ll survive.”
So Generika’s air-conditioned stores not only distinguish them from other “generic drugstores” it actually ensures that all the medicines you get from them remain in their most effective state.
True to their tagline ‘Gamot at serbisyo maasahan dito’ Generika also offers several other services beyond simply selling affordable medicines. Generika also offers extremely affordable medical tests that cost a fraction of what they would cost even at government hospitals. With those tests they also offer free on site consultation. The true spirit of Generika’s service though is in the little things that customers may not even be aware of.
Another innovation is its GeneriKard loyalty card, which aims to provide special perks and privileges to its cardholders. With no constraints of following traditional ways of doing business, Generika has continued to innovate further in collaboration with other companies and institutions. Generika became a partner establishment of BPI Globe BanKO Inc., which is a mobile banking service targeting the low income segment. This service allows individuals to open a personal savings account at accredited Generika outlets, as well as perform cash-in and cash-out transactions. Generika has also become the first drugstore in the country to load prepaid mobile phones via Point-of-Sale (POS) technology when it started offering i-Load – a proprietary mobile reloading service in partnership with the country’s three major telecommunications network: SMART, GLOBE and SUN.
The gathering also served as the venue for the launch of Generika Drugstore’s MedPadala–first electronic gift check in the market, which addresses the concern of OFWs and individuals who send financial assistance to their loved ones who need medicine allowance, especially medicines for maintenance or for emergency need. With MedPadala EGC, one can be assured that the money he sends to his loved ones will be spent ONLY for medicines and not for something else.
It is very human to prioritize immediate needs, and for most, medicine is not a “top of mind” concern until something actually happens that requires it. That’s why it is not uncommon to hear of OFWs who send large amounts of hard earned money home, only to have family contact them soon after with a health crisis that requires more money. What’s more, Filipinos have not quite grown accustomed to Generika prices, and are still very much of the mindset that medicine is very expensive. This is true even of maintenance medications, and most alarmingly, of antibiotics. It is typical of Filipinos to buy enough antibiotics or maintenance meds to start feeling better, then to discontinue taking them as soon as there is relief; despite doctor’s orders. This is a very unhealthy and even outright dangerous practice.
The benefits of MedPadala EGC and why the product was conceptualized were presented to the media guests via an audio video presentation (AVP), and thru a re-enactment between a daughter and her OFW father via Skype. The scenario showed the daughter asking for additional allowance from her dad, as the money which was supposed to be used for buying maintenance medicines for her mom was spent for other expenses.
MedPadala gift certificates were conceived with all of these factors in mind. Unlike other conventional gift certificates, MedPadala e-GCs have no expiration date. What’s more, they don’t need to be used in a single transaction, and can be consumed as needed over several visits. The PIN and password can be passed around to multiple users and for as long as balance remains on the PIN, they can continue to use it to make purchases. As long as the buyer of MedPadala EGC has registered online, he can track the usage of his beneficiary of the EGC. He can see when the GC was used, how much was used, how much remains and at which outlet.
Because of these features and the fact that they can only be used for medicine and medical supplies, they act a lot like a very affordable insurance policy. When you send a MedPadala e-GC, you have a great deal of assurance that it will be spent as it should be, when it is most needed. Because it can only be spent on meds, people are more likely to buy meds as prescribed by doctors rather than as they feel is needed.
The MedPadala website (www.medpadala.com.ph) and Generika’s channel partners for MedPadala such as LBC, VMobile, and Smart E-Money, Inc. were also presented in the event, where the top honchos and officials from both companies expressed their excitement over MedPadala and how it can complement the current products and services they are offering to their respective clients.
Julien Bello, Vice President of Generika Franchising Services Corporation (GFSC) and the brainchild of MedPadala, expressed that through the joint venture with companies like LBC, VMobile, and Smart E-Money more people especially those who are target markets for MedPadala EGC can be tapped to use the product and benefit from it.
What most people don’t know about Generika is that more than being just another vendor of affordable medicines, Generika is a true beacon of social entrepreneurship. Generika was established not just to be a profitable business, but primarily to make affordable, yet quality healthcare more accessible to as many Filipinos as possible.
Generika Drugstore was established in September 2003 to address the need for quality and affordable medicines, and promote the use of generic drugs in the context of high prices of medicines in the country.
When Mr. Teodoro Ferrer was approaching retirement after working for more than 30 years with the Ayala Group of Companies, he was planning to venture into the real estate business taking advantage of his exposure in Ayala.
However, his decision took a sudden turn when Mr. Julien Bello, his close associate in a foundation for microfinance, brought up the sad plight of many Filipinos who cannot afford to complete their medication due to the prohibitive cost of branded medicines.
Fired up by the missionary vision to take concrete step that would address the dismal situation, Mr Ferrer and Mr. Bello formed Erikagen, Inc., the company that gave birth to Generika Drugstore. The company’s first office was in a small 2-bedroom apartment in Goodwill Village, Parañaque City. Progress was slow as none of the stockholders had medical background, nor were familiar with the local drug industry and the retail business.
Gradually, the company built the organization by hiring pharmacists and other key employees; contacted drug wholesalers and suppliers; formulated internal company policies and procedures; opened bank accounts and made first purchases of medicines and related products.
A major milestone came in May 2004 when the first Generika Drugstore outlet was opened in Montillano, Muntinlupa. Finally, the company started selling medicines to real customers. In 2006, the company put together its corporate vision, mission and core values. These statements of objectives and guiding principles comprise the roadmap and compass for Generika in the years ahead.
Their vision is to be the leading national chain of drugstores offering quality and affordable generic medicines with superior customer service, complemented by a strong sense of social purpose.
From the beginning, the company emphasized quality generic medicines to overcome the prevailing perception of many Filipinos that generic medicines were substandard.
The company also formed the Corporate Pharmacy Department with the function of screening and selecting products, and making sure that medicines sold at Generika are manufactured by reputable manufacturers. While the company’s focus is on quality generic medicines, Generika Drugstore also offers select branded medicines, medical supplies, galenicals and consumer goods.
With 16 company owned stores, the company felt prepared to expand the business more aggressively. Thus in 2008, Generika took the next big step of franchising the Generika Drugstore business model. In May of that year marked the opening of the first Generika franchise store in Cubao. From a deliberately slow start, the pace of expansion has quickened as the company gained experience and confidence.
The success of Generika’s business model and the management behind it can be summed up by the awards and accolades that the company received over the years:
2008 National Winner in the Drugstore Chain Category given by DSAP (Drugstore Association of the Philippines); Generika President Teodoro Ferrer awarded as one of the Top 10 Outstanding Entrepreneurs in 2008; 2009 BFAD (Bureau of Food & Drugs) Quality Seal Award for five Generika Drugstore branches. (Generika Soledad branch emerged as the over-all winner besting other well-established drugstores); 2009 Best in Franchising Support and Most Promising Franchise given by the Entrepreneur Magazine; Generika President Teodoro Ferrer, finalist of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2010; 2011 Most Promising Filipino Franchise awarded by the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
From its humble beginnings,Generika has set its footprints in the Visayas and Mindanao in 2011, and continues to strengthen its presence by putting up more branches not only in key cities and municipalities, but also in small towns and barangays. Franchising will be the main engine of growth for Generika in the years ahead as the company strives to achieve its vision, and serve more communities throughout the country.
As of February 2013, Generika has a total of 360 stores nationwide of which 25 are company-owned stores and the rest are franchise stores. The rapid expansion of Generika Drugstore shall pave the way for quality and affordable generic medicines made accessible to everyone.
Since the first Generika Drugstore opened in May 2004, Generika has emerged as the most consistently service-oriented and customer-friendly chain, not just among drugstores that sell generic medications; but among all drugstores in the country. In both ways that customers see and don’t see, Generika is always trying to make life better for its customers. Generika’s knack for coming up with ways to better serve customers is born of a true passion for service and attentiveness to the needs of every Filipino.