Ernst & Young’s 2019 Report “E-pharma: Delivering Healthier Outcomes” put the e-pharma market in India at a value of around $360 million. The report went on to add that the market could reach $2.7 billion by 2023. It is not just COVID-19, there are four other reasons why the market is so popular, and will continue to grow.
Before we jump into that though, we need to understand where this demand comes from. What motivated companies like 1MG, Medlife and others to jump into a market and make it so popular?
The Pharmacy Market in India
According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. As a major player in the global market, India holds a valuable position when it comes to pharmaceuticals. However, that value is simply not being passed onto the Indian consumer.
High health costs remain a key reason why millions of Indians still do not have access to basic medication. Traditionally, health insurance does not cover medication costs, forcing Indians to dig into their pockets to pay for even basic drugs. According to The Mint, 38 million Indians are pushed into poverty every year because they cannot afford the cost of medication.
To combat that, the Indian government has introduced a variety of measures, such as price fixing. Making healthcare affordable has become a vital part of government agenda. That’s where India’s various startups play a critical role, including those in the e-pharma market in India.
India’s retail pharmacy was valued at $17.6 million (in 2017) according to Frost & Sullivan. However, the industry is in the middle of a major crisis. With issues such as increased competition, low profit margins, allegations of drug abuse and poor inventory and billing management plaguing the industry, changes were needed. As the Frost and Sullivan report said: “Currently, the retail pharmacy ecosystem has high friction, leading to inefficiencies and high cost to the consumers. Thus, there is a need for a technological upgrade of the model for streamlining the processes.”
Those inefficiencies are eliminated, at least in part, thanks to the e-pharma market in India. Thanks to these solutions, there is greater efficiency and low friction, which ultimately has benefits for the consumers.
The E-pharma Market
The e-pharma market in India is expected to see an exponential growth over the next four years. That is down to four major reasons:
Accessibility: Rural India still suffers from reduced accessibility to quality healthcare. The e-pharma market in India addresses that issue, in part. It gives millions of Indians access to certain medication, that they previously did not have. There are still some gaps in the supply chain, but now, more Indians have access to medication than before. That is partly down to the greater penetration of mobile internet, allowing for an app-first approach to the e-pharma market in India.
Electronic Records: Digitised records are great for both consumers and business. For consumers, it allows them to easily track and store their prescriptions and purchase history, as well as share it with medical professionals. For businesses, electronic records help in better inventory management, billing and tax filing. Digitisation has allowed the e-pharma market in India to operate more seamlessly than offline pharmacies.
Affordability: The growth of the digital economy has created greater competition, with increasingly lower prices to attract Indian consumers. Now, e-pharmacies are in an intense battle for consumer loyalty, with coupons, referral vouchers and rewards to attract customers. For millions of Indians, these systems create more affordable access to critical medication. The market is also benefitting from greater scale and reach, thanks to smartphones and internet access.
Seamless Experience: The ability to order medication from the comfort of your home has made e-pharmacies a huge success, like Amazon or food delivery apps. Consumers can easily order medication from all parts of the country, and have access to all their needs addressed on a single platform. The seamless experience is a major driver of growth.
Thanks to major technological disruptions in healthcare, today’s consumers are increasingly looking for a single solution to address all their healthcare needs. There is a demand for a unified platform that is cost-effective and easy to use. That is why Onsurity built Onsurity Plus, a subscription for employers to provide employee healthcare benefits.
The Onsurity App is a one-stop solution for all healthcare needs, including a built-in e-pharmacy, access to doctor teleconsultations and other value-added services. That’s because we believe access to quality healthcare should not be an option, but a right. We have partnered up with some of India’s leading brands to provide these services, at an economical cost.
To find out more, and join our family head to our website now.