E-pharmacies can be a game changer in delivering affordable medicines to all by increasing competition, driving costs down and helping to deliver drugs in remote areas, said Tushar Kumar, founder & CEO, Medlife.
As per the reports, the government is working on a policy that will ensure a level playing field for e-pharmacies vis-à-vis traditional retailers, he added.
Online pharmacies, especially those that are inventory led and dispense on their own, have the potential to bridge the healthcare gap. E-pharmacy is a part of the Digital India campaign because from e-governance to e-learning, the idea of the movement is to transform the country into a digitally-empowered society. Currently, there are about 50 online pharmacy start-ups in India, revolutionizing the way business is done, in an industry that has been traditionally resistant to change. The results, in less than half a decade, have been heartening, Kumar told Pharmabiz in an email.
As far as the discovery, development and manufacturing of drugs is concerned, India is counted among the forerunners globally. However, when it comes to quality consciousness, good pharmacy & dispensing practices or understanding the pharmacist role, for the average Indian consumer, there’s a lot to be desired.
Online pharmacies are making the process of purchasing medicines not only more convenient, economical, organized and transparent. Whether it’s insisting on valid doctor’s prescription for disbursing certain drugs, or even maintaining documentation of every transaction, digitalization of data is streamlining the distribution system. Over a period of time, the consumer medical database could be useful in planning public health policies, he said.
Apart from that, leading e-pharmacies are evolving into holistic healthcare hubs that offer access to comprehensive information and medical e-consultation services. India which has a dismal ratio of 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people, online consultations with doctors for simple queries or second opinions can be a real boon, said Kumar.
“We started Medlife which is an online pharmacy to meet the inadequacies in the healthcare delivery system through technology intervention. Health services management is a growing field, especially with technology adoption. Records management and lab results are all moving to electronic platforms and hospitals need to hire administrators to handle the data. Active leadership roles by physicians, innovative human resource strategies and a strong organizational culture can bridge the talent gap in healthcare”, he said.
Quoting a study, Kumar said India has a ratio of 0.7 doctors and 1.5 nurses per 1,000 people as against the WHO ideal average of 2.5 each of doctors and nurses per 1,000 people which reflects the immense human resource challenge, said Kumar adding that the challenge for e:pharmacies becomes tougher when hiring fresh graduates as their growth aspirations are high and it takes twice the effort to train and engage them.
Most of the freshers are young, dynamic, energetic and mostly tend to be experimental with their first job. We have employed and nurtured about 750+ pharmacists and groomed them to grow along with the organization. We provide our people with a bigger and better picture about their role, their career graph and also make them understand how their good work makes a change in our customer’s everyday life.