Despite uncertainty over allowing online sale of medicines by the government and its smooth operations in India on safety issues and opposition from offline traders, a registered association of qualified pharmacists in Kumbhakonam in Tamil Nadu is working out a strategy for an online net-work business for sale of pharmaceutical products.
The online net-work of pharma trade, otherwise branded as e-pharmacy, will be brought under the full control of a registered company, managed by registered pharmacists. What is different from other already established online trade groups, this network through internet is that, from prescription check to delivery (dispensing) of medicines to the patients, the full operation is handled by registered pharmacists only. The service of a courier boy is not accessed here, but the service is rendered by a qualified pharmacist only.
Secondly, the controlling company’s agreement for delivery of medicines is with wholesalers and not with any retail shops. It is the responsibility of the wholesaler agent to entrust the duty with the local retailer to deliver the drug to the patient at his door-step/hand delivery. The wholesaler agent must forward the report of the drug delivered, with brand name, company name, batch number, MRP, discounted rate and expiry date of the drug, to the net working company through their website. The same report will be kept by the retailer, the wholesaler agent and is always ready with the company’s website for any time inspection.
The major advantage of this e-pharmacy, according to sources from the net work group, is that the drug is not sent to the consumer by courier from any unknown/far off places, but from the nearest local pharmacy. So, if any problem arises, it can be solved immediately. But, the retailer does not accept any direct online demand from the consumers, instead he has only the delivery contract with the wholesaler-agent. Online demand is made on the website by the customers and the company will forward the same to the wholesaler-agent in respective areas. The order for the online demand will be served to the retail store by the wholesaler who will be in tie up with the net-work group.
The company aims to provide 27 per cent discount to the consumers, 20 per cent of the retail commission and additional 7 per cent given by the wholesaler agent. Only those wholesalers who are ready to provide 7 per cent discount only will be included in the net-working team. The company, which is registered in the form of a public limited company with share holders from all the states, has developed a customized mobile app for the business and will be operational from the first week of January 2017, said Tamil Venden, managing director of Venden Medicals in Kumbhakonam, who has mooted the idea of the net-work retail pharmacy business to the pharmacist associations in various parts of the country.
The company will reach an agreement with the wholesalers in each place and they will, in turn, reach an agreement with retail shops for this purpose. Network company has no direct link with the retailers, but only with the wholesalers. However, the main condition of the business is that drug should be delivered only on prescription and it must be handled by a registered pharmacist. From the retail shop to the patient, a pharmacist’s presence will be ensured.
“This is a start-up e-pharmacy business by our association, connecting retail shops in the country. We are planning to start it first in major cities in Tamil Nadu and gradually will extend the services to all the districts. Each associated share holder pharmacist association will operate the function in each state, and all over the country the services of the net-working company can be accessed in next six months time”, said Venden who is also the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Pharmacist Awareness Organisation (TN PAO) which will control the network business in Tamil Nadu. TN PAO has 800 registered pharmacists who will help the retail pharmacies in delivering the medicines to the online consumers”, he told Pharmabiz.