Pharmaceutical social franchising

I wrote my Master’s thesis on pharmaceutical social franchising. Here are some basic relevant resources from around that time (2011/2012).


Social Franchising for Health (UCSF): Online community of practice where social franchising stakeholders exchange information. Maintained by the University of California (San Fransisco) Global Health Group.

Results for Development Institute: Includes research and initiatives in the health sector, including a dedicated series of projects on ‘harnessing the private sector’.

Center for Health Market Innovations: Community-managed resource identifying, analysing and connecting programes working to improve health and financial protection for the poor.

IFC report on ‘The Business of Health in Africa’: focuses on what role the private sector can play in the African health sector. and Social Edge: Platforms focused on social entrepreneurship. Social Edge is not updated anymore as it is currently being merged into a new platform with the Skoll World Forum (18 sept 2012 update: new platform not available yet).

Thesis abstract (feel free to contact me for a full copy)

Pharmaceutical social franchises in sub-Saharan Africa: to what extent can they interact with constraints on the market for essential medicines, bridge the supply-demand gap, and increase access for poor and remote populations?

Background: Currently, both the public and private sectors in most of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are failing to provide widespread access to essential medicines. The pharmaceutical social franchise (PSF) model has generated significant enthusiasm with regards to its ability to improve access. However, there is a lack of rigorous research on the extent to which the concept actually increases access to medicines. Methods: This study performs a snowball literature review to identify the market constraints on pharmaceutical supply in SSA; and to identify how the PSF model can theoretically interact with these constraints. This forms the basis of an economic analytical framework, which is then used to analyze the experience of existing PSFs. Results & Conclusions: 5 market constraints were identified: weak consumer purchasing power, market fragmentation, information asymmetry, external factors and human capital. Considering these and theoretical and actual market dynamics, the analysis found that depending on the specific PSF model, the ways by which access is improved is different; no existing variation was found to improve all components of access. Variations were found to allow for adaptation to local markets, but also lead to trade-offs both for operations and for the extent of impact on access. Those involved in the design, implementation, evaluation and/or funding of PSFs must be aware of the mechanisms by which different models affect access to medicines differently. Following this they can make choices suited to the market they are operating in and in line with their priorities.

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