Hapinoy stores, a network of stores that sell various commodities, are owned and run by microfinancing borrowers and trained by MicroVentures Inc. (MVI) to standard operating systems. MVI decided to partner with United Laboratories Inc. (Unilab), the leading producer of branded medicine, to incorporate non-prescription over-the-counter medicines among the products sold at Hapinoy stores. The best selling items from the manufacturers were combined with the best selling products from the store owners’ experience and a list of recommended medicine based on the advisory doctor’s experience to arrive at a commercially viable and desirable assortment. MVI sources the medicines from Unilab and distributes them via its own distribution operation to the Hapinoy stores.
Each active Hapinoy community has one anchor Community Store (CS) servicing between thirty to one hundred smaller Hapinoy Sari-Sari stores (HS). The CSs are at the center of the Hapinoy operations and act as a wholesaler to the smaller Hapinoy stores in the community.
Between the end of March and beginning of April 2010, Hapinoy Healthcare Hub launch events were conducted in seven communities and the CS attracted fifteen to twenty smaller Sari-Sari stores each to the event. In the workshops, it was also highlighted that the nanays (store owners) required training and education as they felt insecure about selling medicine. Therefore, the Botika Corner launch event became an important part of the business model. Together with an experienced community health practitioner, a two hour education presentation was developed, ranging from the recognition of basic ailments to the branded and generic OTC remedies which are part of the assortment of medicines.
Each participating store also received a number of merchandising materials, including two display and storage panels, one for branded and one for generic medicine, as well as appropriate signage. The panels were filled with an initial stock of medicine which the store owners received on a consignment basis. Furthermore, additional marketing material, such as a leaflet with consumer information about the medicine and a certificate of participation were given to the store owners. In view of scaling up this project the event was scripted and recorded on video, so it can be replicated easily in the dissemination phase.