PharmaSwap, the sharing marketplace to reduce medication waste

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Medication waste is a hotly-debated issue that primarily relates to medicine packets returned by patients. It is estimated that in The Netherlands alone, medicines worth at least EUR 100 million are thrown away every year. Besides patients, pharmacies and suppliers also have to deal with leftovers and wastage.

PharmaSwap is a unique sharing marketplace for pharmacists, hospital-based or otherwise, that creates transparency in the supply and demand for expensive medicine. By connecting supply and demand in a professional manner, participating pharmacists aim to reduce medicine wastage that would otherwise remain on the shelves of  pharmacies, wholesalers or pharmaceutical companies, only to end up passing the expiration date.

PharmaSwap sharing marketplace is exclusively meant for medication that was never issued to a patient and has always remained under the strictly controlled storage conditions legally imposed on pharmacies. Moreover, the shipment of traded goods through PharmaSwap is organized in a safe, GDP compliant manner to guarantee safety and quality at every stage.

Main results

During 2019, 20 Dutch pharmacists took part in a pilot that was conducted over 6 months. As a result of this pilot, the destruction of 68 packages was avoided; instead, they were re-issued to patients. These 68 packages represent a total procurement value of EUR 54 000.

In August 2020, 165 pharmacists and 3 wholesalers were using the PharmaSwap platform. Many medicines have been shared in 2020, 175 packages have been saved and the value of these transactions has been calculated to be EUR 184 000.

With 2 000 pharmacies in the Netherlands alone, these results indicate the magnitude of the circular impact PharmaSwap can achieve if rolled out on a large scale.