E-Pharmacies Echoing Across Places

By Monica PallaviSustained awareness about e-Pharmacies is felt in every nook and corner these days. Pharmacy stores existing in and out of hospitals hardly get overcrowded; healthcare in this time and age in the form of digitalized version is known to cover a wide range of interests. From placing an order for medicines to booking a doctor’s appointment for distant relatives, everything is taken care of by these budding online platforms.

Some of the prime players who have ventured into this e-Pharmacy domain are MedLife, Netmeds, PharmEasy, 1MG, CareOnGo and Myra.

After the emergence of these e-Pharmacies, physical pharmacies have been witnessing a rigid competition, as individuals, at present; prefer easy purchase of medicines than similar complex processes.

The number of discounts offered by e-Pharmacies varies between 10-40%, which makes these online platforms user-friendly and highly cost-effective. Not only that, about 30% of India’s 1.3 billion population belong to the middle class, hence access to these platforms seems practical and desirable.

The e-Pharmacy industry has been expanding in terms of other healthcare perks as well, such as the local chemist might find it difficult to stock high value inventory, but these
online platforms can make the exclusive medicines easily available to its customers. Faster delivery and wider reach are some of the many advantages of buying medicines online.

Dharmil Sheth, Founder of PharmEasy says "Our platform uses technology to a great extent, understands what the dosage order is and when it has to be refilled for the patient." His company is known to have grown by 300% year-on-year. If customer finds any issues with the drug, replacement is possible.

Sheth further adds "Every strip can be uniquely identified. Availability is one of the biggest advantages as it is practically impossible for a pharmacy to actually stock all medicines. We are efficient enough to identify which partner retailer has the medicines that are required, and because of this, consumers are spared the task of hunting medicines."

PharmEasy has also devised better ways to overcome the complications of side-effects that medicines or chemical drugs usually have on individuals. Adhering to this, Sheth commented "We will fulfill the order as per the requirement. There is a certain class of drugs which we have restricted on our platforms and also other online pharmacies are in sync with this. There is a self-regulation code of conduct that we follow. We do not sell schedule X medicines, medicines which are psychotropic in nature, sleep-inducing, or habit-forming, and medicines which have a potential of abuse. To chronic patients, we always supply medicines within schedule C, schedule H, and H1."

However, any new venture, irrespective of its success in the market, undergoes various challenges and PharmEasy was one among the many to face it. "The only challenge right now is the speed in which the policy is being thought through. Though there has been tremendous support from the government and the regulators in terms of bringing in clarity and framework for online pharmacies, still we are struggling to get the desired environment for working in India. There have been multiple court cases and we would really appreciate faster movement on clarification from the government in this space," says Sheth

Gradually, these e-Pharmacies are becoming indispensible to the healthcare business. Being a sunrise industry, it is comparatively gaining stronger foothold than other budding industries, thus creating safe avenues to provide ‘e-healthcare’ services.