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Empowering Local Medical Stores: The Future Of Medicine

The e-pharmacy industry has grown 9.8% in 2019 and during the COVID-19 scenario, the users grew to 9 million as reported by India Brand Equity Foundation, indicating a promising future for e-pharmacy.

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India’s biotech industry is expected to contribute USD 150 billion by 2025, thus making it the largest pharmaceutical supplier in the world. Over 80% of antiretroviral drugs used to combat AIDS are manufactured and supplied by Indian pharmaceutical sector, yet only 1% of India’s total GDP is spent on public healthcare.

About 60% of India's population resides in rural areas with very low medical penetration but owing to the initiation of digital India, that streamlined the internet infrastructure and encouraged startups to invest in the concept of enabling healthcare via internet, people residing in tier 2 and tier 3 cities now had access to the new age medical resources. Even though telephonic ordering of the medicines is already in practice, the business model is not successful owing to unavailability of medicines and the requirement of a minimum order value.

The introduction of e-pharmacies in the Indian market has improved the supply chain management of medicines. With the majority of Indian population still living in rural areas, the healthcare infrastructure crisis still requires strong intervention. E- pharmacies tend to work on a hybrid business model, connecting the vendors with the facilities to deliver their services.

The e-pharmacy industry has grown 9.8% in 2019 and during the COVID-19 scenario, the users grew to 9 million as reported by India Brand Equity Foundation, indicating a promising future for e-pharmacy. Companies like Medcords play a pivotal role in connecting local chemists with the consumers, thus allowing them to reach a wider customer base while aiding the ailing customers in a speedy manner. The business model works in a mode that allows a consumer to order a specific medication, the chemists then check with the availability, and ensures speedy delivery. This model is like the virtual model of the traditional over-the-counter system, which helps build trust in the model as the order is completed by your trusted local chemist.

E-pharmacy sector is putting consistent efforts to ensure that the health care system has amplified its connectivity in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Not only providing consumers with medicines, these platforms are also helping consumers directly connect with doctors, thus ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to prolonged travel and added monetary expenses. Applications like Aayu also go an extra mile by facilitating consultations with more than 5000 doctors who are spread across 33 specialities.

E-pharmacy sector is also helping in generating employment and increasing investment in the rural sector of India. Online vendors require a seamless local supply chain for the delivery of medicines and blood reports, hence proposing to develop cold storage units, pathology labs and offices to ensure ease of logistics. E Pharmacy is also introducing Artificial Intelligence for tier 2 and tier 3 cities by maintaining patients’ records digitally, helping doctors to understand the patient’s medical history and according diagnosing and prescribing medicines.

COVID-19 pandemic made India cognizant about its fragile healthcare system which led to a proposed investment of USD 30.1 Billion by the Indian government in FY 2021-22, making it the biggest investment of India in public healthcare. The investment in the Indian healthcare system and the vision of Digital India launched in 2015, will help revolutionise and simplify the e-pharmacy segment of the country, thus making healthcare infrastructure self sufficient.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Shreyans Mehta

Co-Founder, Medcords

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