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Local medicine price comparison app debuts

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Software developer Michael Ndjibu Lukusa is founder and developer of MediPrice.
Software developer Michael Ndjibu Lukusa is founder and developer of MediPrice.

Mobile app MediPrice makes it possible for South Africans to source medicine prices and obtain details on medicine ingredients, as well as find the closest pharmacy.

This is according to Michael Ndjibu Lukusa, founder and developer of MediPrice.

Launched on 25 January, with a subsequent update on 7 March, MediPrice gives prices for all medicines dispensed over the counter or prescribed in SA.

The medicine prices are sourced through an already existing application programming interface (API) from the South African Medicine Price Registry, which is published by government. The app then gives a dispensing price range for the medicine based on the government guidelines, explains Lukusa.

“MediPrice is a mobile app available on Play Store and App Store,” he says. “It allows users to look up the recommended selling prices of their medicines as per government regulations. Added to that, MediPrice allows users to conveniently locate their pharmacy through integration of maps services and geo-location. It also helps consumers to look up their medicine ingredients by tapping on the medicine details cardboard in the app.”

A software developer by day, Lukusa started his educational career with a bachelor degree in information management, which he finished in 2016. He then went on to do an honours degree in management in 2017, followed by another honours degree in information systems at the University of Cape Town in 2018.

Now, the almost 24-year-old works for bespoke software development company Full Stack, in Cape Town, as a junior software developer.

According to Lukusa, MediPrice is making readily available information accessible to consumers so that it can be utilised.

“MediPrice acts as an information relaying agent between government and consumers. Until developing this app, I personally knew nothing about the existence of a medicine privy registry in South Africa.

“The service is available to every South African willing to know prices of their medicines or medicine ingredients, as well as conveniently locating their nearest pharmacy.”

He goes on to say MediPrice does not offer any advertisements on the app, so that it provides users with a seamless experience. “For now, MediPrice does not project to make any money on the provided services to users.”

Looking to the future, Lukusa reveals MediPrice plans to build its own API to secure independence from third-party integration, and add additional services such as a partnership with a pharmacy in order to get location by location pharmacy pricing. “There is an additional set of features that are under consideration and could be added to those cited above.”

Some users who have downloaded the app are using reviews pages and social media to share their thoughts.

One user, Natasha Zlobinsky, wrote on the Google Play Store reviews page: “Very nice, useful app. Simple and quick to use.”

Another user, Dawid Roux, said: “Best app to use in this field. It has them all.”

On Twitter, MediPrice is also receiving some positive reviews. @_kweenin tweets: “@MediPrice_SA is the first South African app that allows consumers to look up the recommended selling prices of the medicines they need, as well as find ingredients of their medicines. It also allows consumers to conveniently find their closest pharmacy.”

@neilwefk also tweets: “Got a headache? Try using mediprice.net. It'll show you prices of Disprin and nearest pharmacy to get it.”

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