Can E-Pharmacy be a New Success in India?
Market demand in any area is directly proportional to its population. Countries with large populations have never-ending demand for resources. Resources could be anything like foods, clothes or medicines. Talking about medicines as a resource, India has a great demand for them.
As per A survey conducted by Statista, “11 per cent of the respondents had diabetes in 2020. Overall, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, thyroid and blood pressure were seen to be rising among Indians.” These rises in chronic disease create solid demand for reliable sources that can provide good medicine and fulfil market demands. To get this problem sorted, Pharmaceutical giants present in the country introduced the concept of E-pharma. E pharma is the industry that provides medical supplies to customer’s doorstep via online methods.
In this Article, we will try to give you a detailed overview of what the E-pharma sector is and why it is booming in India.
What is E-pharma?
E-pharmacy is the use of electronic means to deliver medications to patients. Furthermore, e-pharma generally saves the health care system’s money, not only because of its benefits for patients and doctors but also since it cuts down on paper consumption. E pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy that has developed rapidly over the last decade. E-pharma provides increased access to medicines for people who live in remote areas, whose health is fragile or who have difficulty travelling to pharmacies. E-pharma is making it easier for healthcare institutions to provide access to their patients without incurring additional costs. This technology can be used to improve the quality of healthcare for HIV/AIDS infected populations, patients with multiple chronic diseases or outpatient clinic patients with long term prescriptions among many other patient groups.
The current growth in India
The large population of India makes it easy to run any business here. The same goes for the pharma industry. India, with a population of around 1.38 billion generates strong demand in the pharma sector. Traditional methods are not sufficient to fulfil this high demand.
To fulfil market demands, companies started promoting themselves to cross-license, collaborate, and invest in R&D activities for developing new drugs and technologies. The Indian drug industry is currently the 7th largest in the world based on volume and 11th largest based on value. It is estimated that by 2020, India's pharmaceutical market will be worth $48 billion USD accounting for around 12 per cent of world's total pharmaceutical market.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the E-Pharmacy market in India is estimated to be around 512 million USD in 2018 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 63 per cent to reach 3,657 million USD by 2022. The global E-Pharmacy market is currently led by North America and Europe.
However, there are certain challenges that still need to be addressed viz., availability of quality infrastructure facilities, skill development & manpower management issues, access to finance & credit facilities etc.
Ecommerce and E-pharma
Lockdown followed by the covid-19 outbreak forced us to use E-pharmacy. The delivery of prescription drugs through E-pharmacy is similar to online shopping. It offers the same advantages E-commerce brings to retail products. Cost savings are one of the biggest benefits. Drugs are stored and shipped for a much smaller cost than non-prescription products. In other words, even if there are no further advances in distribution technology, the price of prescription drugs will fall simply by placing them on the Internet. The most important of these is consumer information. Consumers usually have a lot more information about a product they need to buy often, such as a razor or a toothbrush, than they do about a product they need only rarely, such as a medical treatment. With Internet sites you can get detailed information about each drug from people who have used it, giving you more information than your doctor has time to give you about each drug's benefits and risks.
Internet users and reliability of market
The internet plays a critical role in the success of The E-pharma market. There are various factors that led to the popularity of the E-pharma market. First is that increase in the number of internet users paved up the way E-pharma works. Second, the establishment of several online pharmacy websites made it easier for patients to buy drugs online without any hesitation. Third, increased demand for these medicines has encouraged many pharmaceutical companies to come up with online drugstores.
Before the Internet became popular, people used to buy medicine over the counter at their neighbourhood pharmacy. They just needed to present their prescription and pay for their medicine. However, with the advent of the Internet, people found that they could buy medicines online at lower prices than they could at their local pharmacy or supermarket. Online pharmacies are convenient because they can be accessed from any location, regardless of where you are. This makes it easy for people who take prescription drugs regularly to order their drugs online and have them delivered directly to their doorstep.
Why is this needed?
In India, very few players are operating in this field. The major players in this sector are Netmeds, 1mg, pharmacy, Dhani pharmacy, appolo24x7 etc. The sector is growing at a very fast pace and is expected to grow further in the coming years.
The major factors that drive the growth of the sector are:
1) Online purchase of medicines by customers from different parts of India without having to travel to the market.
2) 24X7 availability of medicines through online portals.
3) Wide range of medicines is available on these portals at affordable prices.
4) No requirement for visiting the doctor for purchasing medicines.