DHP supports e-pharmacy draft rules, says it will bring affordability & transparency

As per a leading association of e-pharmacies, these will empower consumers and provide them multiple options to help them make an informed choice when buying their medicines, improving affordability, accessibility and traceability of the medicines

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New Delhi: Digital Health Platform (DHP), the association of E pharmacies of India has welcomed the move on e-Pharmacy draft rules and has decided to oppose the nation-wide strike called by chemists on September 28, 2018 announced by the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), an association of chemists involved in sale and distribution of medicines across India.

The primary objective of DHP that consists of all the top E pharmacies in the country is to bring together all the ePharmacies to unleash the power of technology for better health outcomes and to improve the availability of affordable and quality medicines to the farthest corner of the country.

DHP believes that vested interests in the pharmacy retail and distribution sector are opposing the e-pharmacy model and creating misunderstanding for e-pharmacy model.

In its press release, the DHP emphasized that the e-pharmacy model will also enable existing pharmacies to start online operations and serve a broader set of customers. It can also lead to a network of pharmacies integrating into one platform and accessing a broader customer base while ensuring that the inventory is consolidated. This would reduce working capital requirements, remove wastage from system and increase margins. In short, it will facilitate better purchasing margins, better inventory management, increased reach, reduced prices and greater provision of value-added services to customers. DHP has stressed on the need for technological advancement of retail pharmacy sector to address the challenges in this sector. While it helps in making the sector more efficient and robust, it will also bring down the cost of medicines thus benefiting the end consumer.

Speaking about the draft rules Prashant Tandon, CEO, 1 mg and President, DHP, said “e-pharmacy is not a privilege, but rather a necessity for the retail pharmacy sector in India to address the challenges of affordability, accessibility and transparency”.

We support the e-pharmacy draft rule it improve affordability and accessibility of medicines for the consumers. Also moving towards technology based disease management is key, said Dharmil Sheth founder, PharmEasy.   

As per DHP, it has come up with a valid line of reasoning against the points raised by the AIOCD regarding e-pharmacies:

AIOCD’s point: Easy opening to entry of Low quality, misbranded and spurious medicines

DHP’s response: The e-pharmacy model will actual address the problem of substandard and spurious medicines in retail pharmacy sector. Digital transaction trails will provide tracking and traceability of medicines. All medicine purchases can be tracked effectively and can be subjected to audits recording of full transaction payment, valid bill, and batch number of medicines should be available. Currently, lot of brick and mortar transactions are without any bill and prescription. Infact, e pharmacy players are working with lot of  brick and mortar partners to streamline processes and facilitating the use of technology to increase their efficiency and reduce wastage.

AIOCD’s point: Big threat of irrational use of medicines. Big threat of Drug addiction in youth due to easy availability of schedule & prescription medicine through internet

DHP’s response: Prescription record, name and address of the person who ordered the medicines is stored to provide tracking and traceability.

AIOCD’s point: Danger of non-availability of medicine in rural India.

DHP’s response: With the expansion of the Internet and broadband services to remote areas of the country following the Digital India initiative, e-pharmacy model can act as a strong pillar to significantly improve awareness and access of affordable medicines. It can also enable access to rural areas where there is limited presence of retail pharmacy.

AIOCD’s point: Deletion of pharmacist’s role as patient counsellor is dangerous. Pharmacist play an important role as link between Doctor & Patient.

DHP’s response: In the e-pharmacy model, the final dispensation takes place through a licensed pharmacy and under the supervision of registered pharmacists. Routine questions about medications could be answered by online pharmacists using e-mail or other real-time chat options. Knowledge of a patient’s diagnosis, list of drugs the patient is already consuming, and established drug monitoring parameters, largely unavailable to the pharmacists at present, could be made accessible through this model. At present, there are no registered pharmacists present in offline stores.

AIOCD’s point: Economical set back to 8 lakh chemists & approx. 80 lakh workers and their families.

DHP’s response: There is lot of misunderstanding about the e-pharmacy model. An e-pharmacy model can also enable existing pharmacies to start online operations and serve a broader set of customers. It can also lead to a network of pharmacies integrating into one platform and accessing a broader customer base while ensuring that the inventory is consolidated. This would reduce working capital requirements, remove wastage from system and increase margins. In short, it will facilitate better purchasing margins, better inventory management, increased reach, reduced prices and greater provision of value-added services to consumers. In Fact, there are multiple case studies where brick and mortar pharmacies have increased their business multifolds while working with e-Pharmacies.

e-Pharmacy Insights by DHP

1000-1200 cr

Current size of e pharmacy. Approx 1% of total retail pharmacy market.

200-250 cr*

Money saved by consumer every year**

15,000+

Employment generated through e-pharmacies

* Based on average 15-20% discount provided by e-pharmacies

 Industry Insights:

$3 billion  e-pharmacy market size by 2024*

40% therapeutic unmet demand due to lack of coverage of brick and mortar pharmacies*

Consumers Insights

90% consumers showed inclination on buying medicines online

48% consumers had to visit multiple brick/ mortar pharmacies to buy medicine

50% consumers  get medicine without any prescription in brick and mortar pharmacy

36% consumers got medicines with no bills with batch number and expiry date from brick and mortar pharmacies