India

FICCI releases white paper on ‘ePharmacy in India – Last mile access of medicines’ – Gives ray of hope to online pharmacies

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The new business models must be allowed to grow through deliberations & engagement of all healthcare stakeholders. There is a need to redefine guidelines through correct amendments and restructuring of guidelines by taking into consideration all challenges to ensure growth of new business models like e-pharmacies that want to deliver quality healthcare to the needy and deprived in different parts of the country. Online pharmacies can ensure holistic growth of pharmaceutical industry by including even retails sectors in its fold and enable them to evolve by evolving their IT infrastructure and ensuring business by replacing middle men between retail pharmacies and customers. The need of the hour is to accelerate changes and ensure behavioural changes, such as adoption of e-prescription by doctors, to subdue the resistance to deliver quality care. As laws will take time, the industry should be allowed to implement self-regulation to understand the benefits and challenges.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), a multi-sector organisation which tries to look ahead happening in the India market by identifying the trends, released a special report or white paper on on July 25 in presence of many government luminaries, such as KB Aggarwal , Additional Secretary (Food and Drugs), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Arvind Gupta, Head, Digital India Foundation, etc.,  and healthcare stakeholders, such as Prashant Tandon, Founder & CEO, 1MG and Dharmil Sheth, Co-Founder,  PharmEasy.

Introduction

Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI mentioned that the entire concept of e-pharmacy, whether we like it or not, is going to come to the Indian market sooner or later

Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI mentioned that the entire concept of e-pharmacy, whether we like it or not, is going to come to the Indian market sooner or later

Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, mentioned that the entire concept of , whether we like it or not, is going to come to the Indian market sooner or later, which needs to be understood not only from the perspective of pharmaceuticals but from the entire healthcare system. Healthcare system is a common ecosystem which cannot be divided into different parts. With the paradigm shift in the approach of healthcare where now growing focus is on patients, solutions through Internet comes across in different levels of interactions with patients. is a reality which is going to come about.

There are lots of challenges as the Government is responsible for ensuring that in a sensitive matter like health only right & correct types of medicines and services are provided. It is in this context, FICCI provided a forum for all stakeholders to discuss possible ways to address the challenges of in totality & enable the Government to come up with a structured framework.

, whether we like it or not, is going to come to the Indian market sooner or later

Bejon Misra, Founder Trustee, Consumer Online Foundation mentioned that consumers need to be assured that medicines bought are genuine and complete distribution chain is insulated from penetration of any contamination which is realisable through e-pharmacies

Bejon Misra, Founder Trustee, Consumer Online Foundation mentioned that consumers need to be assured that medicines bought are genuine and complete distribution chain is insulated from penetration of any contamination which is realisable through e-pharmacies

White Paper – Overview

  • Launched white paper in association of FICCI with the aim to work around new business models that are bound to come to the market & need to be worked upon to be aligned with the interest of consumers
  • Designed the paper by conducting interaction with the industry stakeholders
  • Used secondary research and some primary research
  • Includes impacts of , how it has emerged in developed countries, concerns and recommendations from FICCI and Frost & Sullivan to the government
  • Covers clinical, social and economic impacts

    fits in with the objectives of the Government of India’s policies like Digital India or Make in India campaigns, which can generate employment right from blue collar to white collar workers

Prashant Tandon, Founder & CEO, 1MG mentioned that a lot of things need to be done to create an enabling environment for online pharmacies

Prashant Tandon, Founder & CEO, 1MG mentioned that a lot of things need to be done to create an enabling environment for online pharmacies

– Key Takeaways

  • Alternate channels of connecting patients to licensed pharmacies through technology; it’s an add on system and does not impact the system
  • One stop point for accessing all medicines and not from multiple stores
  • Dispenses medicines at the doorsteps of the patients through the technology
  • Will result into better adherence and compliance, especially in chronic diseases cases, to result in better patient outcomes
  • Will also result in patient database that can enable tracking that can be used for multiple purposes

Social Impact

  • Will provide access to medicines to that set of people living in remote corners and other various reasons, or travel due to age and other diseases
  • Will ensure the timely supply of medicines with improvements in logistics which is a work in progress

Economic Impact

  • Fits in with the objectives of the Government of India’s policies like Digital India or Make in India campaigns, which can generate employment right from blue collar to white collar workers
  • Will reduce price of medicines, ensure better inventory management, better tracking of medicines and stop stocking of counterfeit medicines as it follows the generic marketplace model

models are going to stay; therefore, proper guidelines to be framed to allow such models to grow through right checks and balances.

Understanding Global Models

In 2014, the was anticipated to be close to a 30 billion dollar industry in the United States (US) and Americas. Going at a CAGR of around close to 18 per cent, it is predicted to quadruple its size to close to 128 billion dollars by 2023. And, definitely India is not going to be exception to this growth; however, the pace of growth is debatable. In India, we can see 5 to 15 per cent growth with the evolvement of e-pharmacies, which might increase due to increased penetration of smartphones and Internet.

Popular Models

  • Inventory-Based Model: A licensed pharmacy through offline as well as online model supplies medicine
  • Marketplace-Based Model: A technology provider can provide a platform for pharmacies to act as an aggretor and provide interface between patients and pharmacies.

Concerns

  • Is there a proper structure and logistics chain, especially true for temperature-sensitive medicines
  • Might give rise to self-medication
  • Is the pharmacists willing to deliver small medicine requests or transportation charges will be fixed

Overall, these challenges are definitely surmountable through the evolution of right business models and policies. models are going to stay; therefore, proper guidelines to be framed to allow such models to grow through right checks and balances. What matters that through proper logistics measures the industry must ensure that the integrity of medicines is ensured till the end to the patients.

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