March 29, 2024

Interview with MicuraPharm Management

Edgar Mähringer-Kunz and Pierre Mähringer-Kunz explain their vision for the supply of pharmaceuticals and how the idea of founding MicuraPharm came about.

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Family-run, innovative and partnership-based

"We solve the unsolvable" - this has been Edgar Mähringer-Kunz's guiding principle for more than 20 years. As a engineer of customized machines, he has already implemented many automated production processes for stents, pacemakers and cochlear implants, among others. Systems for manufacturing knee and hip joint prostheses are also part of the success story. Nevertheless, the development of the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser from KNAPP also represents an extraordinary innovative achievement for him. 

Together with his son Pierre Mähringer-Kunz, the senior CEO wants to exploit the potential of blister dispensing with medicines to enable safe and efficient care for chronically ill patients. At the same time, pharmacies should be able to position themselves for the future and counteract the shortage of specialists. 

To this end, father and son founded MicuraPharm in 2022. In this interview, they provide insights into their motivation, the history of the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser and which projects they would like to pursue in the future:

What was the motivation or leading idea behind the development of the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser?

Edgar Mähringer-Kunz: In my own family background, I have experienced the fatal consequences that can result from patients with chronic illnesses taking their medication incorrectly or not taking it at all. It's impossible to avoid mistakes when handing out medication. There is an urgent need for action here, particularly in view of the fact that both pharmacies and retirement/nursing homes are faced with personnel shortages and time pressure.
Closing this safety gap in the supply of medication was the driving force behind the development of today's D³ Daily Dose Dispenser. With our system, which produces weekly blister packs fully automatically and with the highest level of safety, we can provide an enormous innovation boost for nursing care. Pharmacies and nursing employees are sustainably relieved and can carry out their work more efficiently.

When did you start the first developments for the D³ system and what were the biggest challenges in this innovative project?

Edgar Mähringer-Kunz: We started our first prototype trials back in 2008 with the development of a modular automatic system for blister dispensing. About five years ago, we then moved on to the actual development of the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser.  As this is a completely new type of machine, we have had to solve a few challenges over the past few years. In this context, the heart of the Daily Dose Dispenser - the fully automated push-out module for deblistering the tablets - is a special development achievement. We not only had to ensure high speed, but also maximum control. For this reason, several visual and sensory quality control systems are installed in the machine to ensure that the correct pill is in every cup. The final challenge now is to successfully complete validation in order to bring our worldwide innovation to pharmacies.

With KNAPP, you have brought a strong partner on board. How did the collaboration on the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser come about?

Edgar Mähringer-Kunz: KNAPP AG is already behind the ApoStore commissioning machine and the Adcommander point of sale solution, which are well-known in the pharmacy market. For our partner from Graz, the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser project is therefore an intensification of their business in the healthcare sector.
Both sides - MicuraPharm and KNAPP - were able to combine their expertise in the development of the system. Together with KNAPP, it was possible to develop a holistic system solution that integrates a comprehensive and efficient warehouse with the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser.

What is your vision for the future of the supply of medicines in the care sector?

Pierre Mähringer-Kunz: The medication supply of the future must above all be safe, efficient and adapted to the needs of all those involved. Pharmacists need an economical and sustainable solution to be able to produce the increasing number of weekly blister packs. At the same time, nursing staff must be increasingly relieved so that they can focus on their key tasks. The patient as the end consumer benefits from safe healthcare that focuses on a self-determined life.

What role does MicuraPharm play here?

Pierre Mähringer-Kunz: We support pharmacies in transforming their manual processes into fully automated blistering. With the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser, we are providing the basis for a safe, fast and efficient supply of patient blisters. This not only includes the delivery of the machine. We also provide support in networking with nursing homes and care services in order to establish a stable supply cluster.

The D³ system represents a huge innovation boost for the blister packaging process. Which areas in the supply of medicines would you like to optimize in the future?

Pierre Mähringer-Kunz: If we look first at the current expansion of the D³ Daily Dose Dispenser, we are limited to 7x5 cup blisters. Further dosing units are conceivable for future series, for example 7x4 or 7x3. If we go even further, we would like to supply hospital pharmacies with daily blisters in the future in order to be able to cope with medication changes at short notice.

We would like to thank our management for taking the time to talk to us.