‘Consumers Oblivious of Mandatory Need for Pharmacy Prescription’

by January 15, 2016 0 comments

Founded in May 2013 by Arvind Yadav and Anil Asnani and later joined hands by Puneet Kapoor, the online pharmacy shop, BigChemist’s, main idea is to offer trouble-free solutions to those people who require medicines online in India. Online medicine is a very new sector in the Indian SME belt and is witnessing countless challenges. Puneet Kapoor clarified the overall picture in detail and provided his outlook about the business priorities of Indian pharmaceutical SMEs.

Bone of contention

Availability of a valid prescription with the order is required and many people are not aware of this. One of the most common consumer reactions about prescription is that they have been buying their medicines from the local chemist without such requirement for years. The availability of product visibility across distribution chain is another challenge that is faced. Nonstandard naming conventions followed in the industry add-up to a lot of effort for sourcing and servicing the order. Data cleansing and standardisation across value chain is another big challenge.

Untitled-28

Puneet Kapoor Director, BigChemist

“Cost is one of the biggest challenges for implementing integrated solutions to manage POS, book keeping and inventory. This creates an entry barrier to compete against the branded format and large players in the market. ”

 

 

Dealing with the Obstacles

“Our journey so far has been exciting and challenging; as we have had more than 5.5 lakh visitors to our site with over twenty five thousand registered customers.” says Kapoor. “Our focus from the last two years has been to study closely the healthcare space, understand the key pain points in supply and demand areas, study how the local pharmacies operate, their scope for profitability and revenue increase,” he adds. The team at BigChemist understands this space by offering huge opportunities with a current market size of over USD 15 billion in the pharmacy market, with a double digit growth rate. They are also focused on developing their B2C platform and currently their efforts are on to develop a dedicated mobile app (expected to be launched around mid-January) and a B2B platform for supply and demand forecasting fulfillment (expected to be rolled-out in the next one year all over India).

Government Rolled Out Policies

The government has formed a Drugs Consultative Committee which has formed a dedicated sub-committee to look into the viability of e-pharmacy business model and come up with a draft regulatory policy for adoption for the e-pharmacies to operate.

Level of IT Usage in MSMEs

All the big brands can easily spend in IT and take advantage of the integration, but most of the small and medium pharmacies still work on island systems and are unable to leverage the potential. Even most of the small manufacturing companies do not provide bar coded deliveries. This increases the inefficiency and work in the entire value chain. There are multiple points of manual entry for batch number, expiry, manufacturing date, etc., which are very important for the compliance to regulations. The unavailability of simple digitisation of prescription system adds to the complex situation. Ordering, re-ordering and expiry management is mostly manual and very costly. All this eats into the profitability of these pharmacies.

Initially, healthcare e-commerce companies will have to invest in systems to address the key challenges and enable IT in their eco-system. What is lacking is the affordability of these systems and a common platform to achieve this. IT will truly be the key differentiator and success factor in Indian e-healthcare.

Challenges for Implementing ICT

Cost is one of the biggest challenges for implementing integrated solutions to manage POS, book keeping and inventory. This creates an entry barrier to compete against the branded format and large players in the market. This also creates gap in being compliant to all the regulatory requirements. There is a huge manpower cost involved for operational efficiency and business profitability. This eventually creates a barrier to growth and leads to stagnant business.

The Roadmap on IT Usage

“We are working towards creating a Digital organisation and extend that to the entire eco system we would operate in. This will be done in small incremental steps over a period of 3-5 Years,” affirms Kapoor.

The small scale online pharmaceutical companies are working aggressively to create a thriving eco-system under the BigChemist brand. The company is in-process to bring technology that will change the landscape in the healthcare sector and is also planning to create an ecosystem of managed partner pharmacies by investing in them through an integrated market place intelligent Point-of-sale systems helping them being fully compliant to regulation, do effective inventory management, supplement their income sources and improving their and our profitability.

“We plan to leverage the “e” of e-commerce by implementing an industry wide integrated business resource planning solution in our eco system by covering ourselves, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and pharmacies. This eco system of B2B and B2C will help us achieve profitability in the Indian SMEs, while delivering quality and yet affordable healthcare,” says Kapoor. For marketing and campaigns BigChemist is working to create a paperless method of execution leveraging various proprietary cloud based solutions.

“Finally, we are in process to offer service integrated platform services of our partners such as consultation, diagnostics; digital patient records safe, scheduling, loved one’s notifications as small but unique services which differentiate us by making difference in their daily life,” concludes Kapoor.

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

<