Pharmagen

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A chain of water shops that purifies and distributes safe drinking water to low-income customers in Pakistan

REGION
Pakistan
SECTOR
Water & Sanitation

FIRST YEAR OF INVESTMENT

2010

The Challenge

Water contamination is a major problem in Pakistan, where water supply lines and open sewer drains often lay side by side in the streets. This leads to chemical and bacterial contamination of drinking water which in turn causes major health hazards; 40 percent of illnesses in Pakistan are caused by water-borne diseases.

While the bottled water industry has burgeoned in recent years, bottled water remains unaffordable for low-income customers.

The Innovation

Pharmagen purifies and distributes safe drinking water through its chain of open water shops. Each shop extracts water from underground, purifies it through a reverse osmosis plant, and re-mineralizes it. Water quality is checked to WHO Standards.

Water is affordably priced for low-income customers, who pay a few rupees per liter at Pharmagen’s shops.

The Impact

Pharmagen plans to launch 32 open water plants and one bottled water plant, providing the urban poor in Lahore with access to affordable, quality drinking water and reducing the incidence of water-related illnesses and deaths.

Acumen’s investment will also enable the company to significantly increase the capacity of its existing water purification systems from 13,000 liters per hour to 129,000 liters per hour.

Pharmagen currently supplies more than 100,000 liters of potable water to customers in Lahore each day.

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