Portuguese start-up dedicated to the research, development and implementation of new pharmacy services and products is looking for partners abroad, interested in joint-venture agreements for internationalization. The company has developed a software to support both health professionals and patients in decision-making regarding responsible self-medication.
Portuguese start-up that developed a specific disruptive software aimed to contribute to the decrease of drug related problems (DRP), which can be used by healthcare professionals and patients, is looking for similar companies abroad, interested in joint-venture agreements. An aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases have led to the increased use of medicines. Although they are associated with enormous health benefits medicines can also cause illness and death. A drug related problem (DRP) is ‘‘an event or circumstance involving drug therapy that actually or potentially interferes with desired health outcomes’’. Just in the United States of America, DRP is the 4th cause of death with an overall estimated cost of 130 billion dollars per year. But DRP can be avoided and pharmacists play an important role since they are trained to know and understand medicines. The causes of DRP are related with the selection of the drug, its dosage, treatment’s duration and other causes related to the logistics or the patient itself. The pharmaceutical interventions are targeted to prevent DRP and to contribute to the optimization of pharmacotherapy results. The software developed by the Portuguese start-up is an online, interactive tool, can be used to support both health professionals and patients in decision-making regarding responsible self-medication. Through the use of this software safe choices are made for each patient. The system also identifies potentially serious symptoms, where the patient should consult a doctor. The system has several functionalities like security alerts and patient information, among other features. The company is also specialized in the provision of services and training to healthcare professionals associated with the safe use of medicines. The start-up has now reached the commercial stage and is selling the software version for healthcare professionals in Portugal. As the software solves a global problem (and not just a Portuguese one) it is also the right moment to go international. As part of the international growth strategy, the company is looking for other companies abroad that could perform important tasks: to verify the national legislation, to verify and compile official information of every OTC medicines in that specific market and to translate the interface to other languages. The software is prepared for the 55 different situations where self-medication is legally allowed in Portugal.
Innovations and advantages
In developed countries, a large number of individuals use self-medication to treat minor ailments. Self-medication is a healthcare activity with considerable benefits for patients and healthcare systems, as long as appropriately supported by technical-scientific knowledge. The software the company developed intends to support both health professionals and patients in this healthcare activity. It is accessible online and its use is intuitive and simple. The software works based on patient’s clinical information and minor ailments presented, introduced in a simple and interactive way, in the main menu. These options will determine if the patient presents any serious symptom and has to be referred to the doctor. Otherwise, the program suggests support measures and a list of over-the-counter (OTC) medications indicated to that specific symptom and adequate for the patient. It includes other functions that contribute to the correct use of OTC medications. The software presents several advantages by helping daily decision making of healthcare professionals on the identification and selection of the more appropriate medicines, even in complex situations like polymedicated patients, patients with allergies/ intolerances, pregnant/breastfeeding women and children. In a similar but easier way, the software supports patients’ decisions regarding self-medication. The company has a high qualified staff comprising pharmacy and information technology (IT) specialists. The company is inserted in an innovation eco-system, being installed on a technology and science based incubator with access to the academia. This vibrant environment contributes to anticipate major developments in the sector and the company is continuously developing disruptive innovative services and products. At international level, this year, the company participated in one of the main international IT Fair to showcase its solutions and to find relevant partners, in line with its growth strategy.
01004001 Applications for Health
06001005 Diagnostics, Diagnosis
06005003 Health information management
06005004 Remote diagnostics
Market application codes
05001007 Other diagnostic
05003005 Drug delivery and other equipment
05007002 Pharmaceuticals/fine chemicals
05007006 Computer-aided diagnosis and therapy
05007007 Other medical/health related (not elsewhere classified)
Area of partner's activity
The partners sought can be companies active in the sector related with pharmacy innovation, companies with a good network of pharmacies and parapharmacies and companies or organizations (for example cooperatives) dedicated to the distribution of medicines. Other potential partners are companies devoted to healthcare digital applications for patients. The partner would be responsible for the verification and compliance with applicable national legislation, by the compilation and characterization of the national existent OTC medicines. The partner is expected to translate the software to its own or other languages. Other possible task is to develop an app for patients using the logic structure already designed.