With the dream of connecting patients to local pharmacies and diagnostic centres through a mobile app, Dharmil Sheth, an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and Dr. Dhaval Shah, an MBBS from Rajiv Gandhi Medical College and MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, founded PharmEasy, a healthcare aggregator. PharmEasy caters to the chronic-care segment through services such as doorstep medicine delivery, at-home sample collection for diagnostic tests, teleconsultation, as well as, a subscription-based healthcare service.
The startup claims to cater to over 20 lakh families annually and has added more than 5,000 new pin codes to its service network over the past two years. They are present pan-India, reaching out to millions of customers through their mobile app. The company offers flat 20% off on medicines and up to 70% off on diagnostic tests. The app also integrates an auto medicine reminder that ensures one never misses a medicine dose.
How it started
Sheth and Shah’s vision was to make healthcare accessible and affordable across India through a quick and efficient doorstep service with great discounts. This vision gave birth to PharmEasy, India’s No. 1 healthcare aggregator.
“Fashion, accessories, electronics, apartments, vehicles – everything is sold online for convenience, but there was no platform providing healthcare (pharma) delivery services to needy patients. That is what inspired us to build a platform which would make authentic healthcare services accessible, affordable and available to all,” says Sheth.
How it works
To use the app, users simply need to upload a prescription on the platform to have their medicines delivered to their doorstep. Patients also receive access to a virtual vault that stores their prescriptions and enables one-step purchase for ongoing medication. For drug regulation, each prescription uploaded on the platform is verified by a licensed pharmacist before it is processed. Medicine delivery is made within six hours of a prescription being verified.
PharmEasy experienced its share of troubles, which required grit and determination on the part of the founders to overcome. “Lack of support from the regulators was one of the significant challenges faced by us,” reminisces Sheth, who informs that the firm is regularly engaging with concerned regulatory bodies at every level to actively suggest modifications to old laws governing online platforms in the healthcare sector.
Customer mind set was another significant impediment faced by the startup. At the time when PharmEasy was conceived, medical teleconsultations and medicine home delivery were unheard of. Besides, educating patients about the importance of purchasing only prescription-based drugs was a time-consuming exercise.
PharmEasy entered into a partnership with Brand Capital, the strategic arm of Times of India Group, which enabled them to create awareness about this emerging category and establish the brand ‘PharmEasy’ in the consumer mind space and thereby accelerate transactions through their app. This awareness was created by a Times Group 360-degree media amplification through print campaigns in Times of India and through other Times Group mediums like Times OOH, Radio Mirchi and platforms of Times Internet Ltd.
How far they have come
With Brand Capital’s partnership, affordable pricing, intelligent marketing, and consumer-centric services, the startup made its presence known in over 1,000 cities in India.
The startup began as a three-people company less than three years ago and employs over 1,000 people today. As of March 2018, the company has raised over USD 40 million (until series C funding), making it the fastest growing online pharma aggregator in the country. For their commendable achievement, the co-founders, Sheth and Shah were featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 list (2017) for creating a robust platform that is fervently revolutionizing the healthcare space in India.
“We currently deliver to every single pin code in India. However, in our core markets, our experience is superlative as we deliver within 24 hours. The idea is to extend this offering to every single patient in the country. We are expanding our centres to ensure that this is something that we are doing exceptionally well,” points out Shah.