Chennai: Online pharmacy Netmeds Marketplace Ltd will set up product stocking and packing hubs in eight cities to cater to increased demand and cut short delivery time, CEO and Founder Pradeep Dadha said.
He said organised retail can provide valuable data to pharma companies which the latter can mine to plan their product and marketing strategies.
Netmeds recently closed a funding of $50 million from healthcare-focused investment firm OrbiMed and others.
"Based on our business needs, we will be drawing the funds," Dadha told IANS but did not say what stake private equity investors got in return.
"We hold significant majority stake and they hold significant minority stake," he said.
The company will be setting up stocking and packing hubs, also known as fulfilment centres, in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Pune and Chennai, Dadha said.
He said once the goods and service tax (GST) regime comes into play the company can also sell out of its fulfilment centres to local retailers.
"End of 2018 fiscal we should be present in 30 cities across the country," Dadha said.
He said from their billing pattern, pharma companies can mine valuable data relating to their product portfolio and marketing strategies.
"By seeing the bill a company can see not only the main drug prescribed by a doctor but also the other associated drugs. Accordingly a pharma company can look at filling up its product shelf with such products," Dadha said.
Similarly the drug companies can also know the kind of drugs prescribed in a particular locality and accordingly tailor their strategy.
"We don't share any names with the pharma companies -- the doctor's or the patient's," Dadha added.
He said the company gets its orders online and ships the packed drugs to different locations in the country through India Post and other courier service companies.
"Our average bill size is about Rs 1,650. Last month we got more than 50 orders from 118 cities. Apart from drugs we also sell other over-the-counter products. Most of the products retailed by a brick-and-mortar pharmacist is sold by us online," Dadha remarked.
While the challenge for players is the large number of stock-keeping units (SKU) the risk of pilferage is very low as compared to products like mobile phones and others sold online.
"While drugs are sold only on uploading the prescription by a buyer, we do not sell habit-forming drugs even with prescription," Dadha said.