Joe Zhou with his app myMedkit. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Joe Zhou with his app myMedkit. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Pharmacy owner fights $3.3m lawsuit over ‘stolen’ app info

A Maroochydore pharmacy owner is fighting back after being sued for $3.3 million over claims he used confidential information to create his own medication delivery app.

Joe Zhou, who is the director of Amcal+ Express Pharmacy on Horton Pde in Maroochydore, claims he was working on his own app, myMedkit, long before he met the competitor app creators.

Get Tonic, whose directors are Adam Gilmore and Guy McKenzie, has sued Mr Zhou in the Queensland Supreme Court.

According to court documents, they are claiming lost profits of $3.3 million, alleging Mr Zhou, from Mountain Creek, breached their contract and used confidential information to his advantage.

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They are claiming that without the information provided to Mr Zhou from their app, he never would have been able to create his own app, myMedkit, so quickly.

They claim this led to him gaining a contract with Australia's largest health and wellbeing media network, Tonic Health Media.

However, Mr Zhou who has been a pharmacist for ten years said he told Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie that he was in the process of making myMedkit in their very first meeting.

He also denied that he used any information from their app to help make his own.

Mr Zhou who has owned Amcal+ pharmacy for five years said he had the idea for myMedkit in 2016 and had already begun designing it long before he met Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie in October 2017.

Get Tonic and myMedkit are apps that enable the ordering and delivery of prescription medicines sold by pharmacies.

Joe Zhou. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Joe Zhou. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Adam Gilmore and Guy McKenzie, who are both from Brisbane, claim that before entering into a contract with him, Mr Zhou told them he had no intention of competing with their app, according to court documents.

Based on this information, Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie say they then entered into contracts with Mr Zhou's Maroochydore and Kedron pharmacies, where the Get Tonic app was made available to him.

They also claim that they gave Mr Zhou confidential information about their app.

Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie claim that prior to his contract with them, Mr Zhou began planning to develop a competitor app without their knowledge.

Mr Zhou then launched myMedkit.

Mr Zhou claims that he originally tried to negotiate a deal with them to work together which they declined.

"I told them if you're not interested, I'll keep doing my own thing," he said.

Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie are claiming $3.3 million in lost profit, claiming that because of Mr Zhou's access to the confidential information, he was able to create myMedkit six to 12 months earlier than would have been possible otherwise.

They claimed that because of this, the company Tonic Health Media entered into an agreement to use the myMedkit app instead of Get Tonic.

Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie claimed that because they were the only app available in Australia for delivering pharmacy medication, the contract would have gone to them.

Mr Zhou denied the agreement, saying negotiations broke down between the companies and no deals were made.

"I just want to do something good for the community and keep helping patients through COVID-19," he said.

"They (Get Tonic) should focus on helping patients."

Mr Gilmore and Mr Guy estimated that the agreement Mr Zhou allegedly entered into with Tonic Health Media would lose them $3.3 million in profit, based on the average amount of users and orders made with Get Tonic.

Mr Zhou is feeling extremely confident that the trial will go his way.

"There's really no doubt about it," he said.

He is determined to keep running the app and helping people throughout the pandemic despite the accusations.

The court ordered last week that $140,000 in security be provided from Mr Gilmore and Mr McKenzie which would cover the costs of some defendants up to and including the first day of the trial.

They were also ordered to provide the documents relevant to the number of users and the profits of the Get Tonic app by August 27.