HealthTech startup iEthico is on a mission to tackle the global problem of medicine shortages.

The company’s technology is already making a difference by improving access to medicine and reducing pharmaceutical waste.

The female-founded business only launched commercially in April 2023 but has already raised £1m in equity and non-dilutive grants.

Last week iEthico, which has offices in Harrogate and the Midlands, reached the final of KPMG’s  Private Enterprise Tech Innovator in the UK 2023 Awards.

CEO Debra Ainge said: “Medicine shortages are a global problem impacting everyone involved in patient care. They result in a high amount of wasted resources and increases in costs for pharmacies. They impact patients, causing delays and interruptions in treatment, and even death.

“Given the extent of medicine shortages in both the UK and beyond, there is a clear need for a solution that can ensure medicine supply in times of need, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Ainge said iEthico provides an international, multi-judicial solution that meets regulations across multiple pharmaceutical markets.

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“We deliver optimal sourcing and distribution of existing supplies in a timely and logistically efficient manner,” she said, “providing access to information on medicine shortages, to support all stakeholders in the supply chain.

“At a time when hospital pharmacies are under-staffed and facing an exodus of talent, iEthico provides simple, convenient access to all medicines from one location, bringing together one of the widest networks of wholesalers in the UK and beyond.

“It is wholesaler-agnostic to encourage price optimization that benefits healthcare providers and patients.

“Ultimately, our solution benefits patients globally by optimising the supply chain. It increases access to medicines, meaning that more patients will receive the most suitable treatment, and reducing delays, interruptions and burden on frontline staff.”

The company has five full-time  and one part-time members of staff.

As well as being female-founded, the company’s management team is 50 per cent female.

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The company has raised over £1m in equity and non-dilutive grants. iEthico is backed by Midven through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund—a part of the Future Planet Capital Group.

Ainge said iEthico’s technology was already making a difference.

“We’ve had extremely positive customer reviews,” she said. “Our first customer, Remedi Pharmacy Solutions, stated ‘since Remedi has started working with iEthico, we have seen a significant reduction in supply issues which has allowed us to focus on serving our patients rather than chasing drug availability’.”

Ainge said one of iEthico’s biggest challenge was market resistance to radical innovation.