Travelling with temperature sensitive medication is difficult, I have experienced that personally. Since a couple of years I use a medicine that needs to be kept between 2 and 8 °C, at all times. Cooling solutions that I found on the internet only offered up to 8 hours of travel time. With outside temperatures like this summer in the Netherlands, they only provide op to 4 hours. These solutions do not take me that far.
The idea for Meds²Go originated from frustration. How can it be possible that I am even more limited? Not by my illness, but by the practical problems of bringing my medicine on my travels. Before my first vacation, my doctor gave me the advice to leave the medicine at home. I was only away for 10 days, so I should be fine. Unfortunately I wasn’t, each day I became a little sicker, this was no vacation at all.
I submitted this question to the Dutch Health Hackathon in May 2016, which was held in the LUMC-hospital. A health-hackathon is a big event where patients, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and healthcare professional come together, to solve real healthcare problems, in one weekend. Together with a group of experts we tackled this question. Here, the first ideas and designs for the cooling container were born. Meds²Go won the second price and many people encouraged us to solve this problem.
Later in 2016 Meds²Go participated in the Launchlab event from Yes!Delft. During this event you work on market research for about 3 months. We were looking for answers to questions such as; Who uses these temperature sensitive medication? Which concrete problems do we need to solve? Meds²Go won this edition of Launchlab.
This was also a confirmation that the container possesses a lot of potential. There are over 100.000 people in the Netherlands that use temperature sensitive medicine (2 – 8 °C). We also know that many of these people experience stress about the condition of their medicine(s), because there is no monitoring of the temperature. Moreover, this problem has impact on a diverse group of people; for example children, because of their medication they might not be able to join school camp or adults who cannot go on business trips.
At this point, I had no more doubts. In January 2017 I founded Meds²Go travel B.V., together with I-Chu Liao, a product designer, who graduated from TU-Delft. Our ambition is to make sure that everyone who uses temperature sensitive medication, can bring them on their travels, under the right condition.
The container should therefore comply to some basic conditions. The medication should be kept between 2 – 8 °C for a minimum of 24 hours, which would give you more time to reach your destination. The inside temperature should be monitored and visible on a display, so you know for sure that your medicine is cooled optimally. Lastly, the container should be small and lightweight, so you can easily keep it in your hand baggage during a flight.
Currently, I work in Noordwijk. Meds²Go is part of the incubation programme of ESA (European Space Agency). We make use of an insulation material that is frequently used in the aerospace industry. Together with the team I work hard to make the first cooling container. We are now thoroughly testing the models and prototypes. We want to start selling the first containers early in 2019.
Frustration can result in many things, sometimes even in entrepreneurship. In the past 18 months I have learned a lot and Meds²Go as a company has grown tremendously. Without the help from everyone who supported me and the Meds²Go team, we couldn’t have come this far. I want to thank them for that.