Why E-pharmacy firms saw huge order surge in second wave of pandemic

Alan Joseph Alan Joseph
May 8, 2021 5 min read
Why E-pharmacy firms saw huge order surge in second wave of pandemic

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India has led to the significant growth of online pharmacies. The lockdown being implemented in various states and the strict restrictions have led to the surge in for medical devices and PPE kits by the consumers through e-pharmacies. Let’s look at the growth of e-pharmacies in India.

Growth of E-pharmacy market
Growth of 1mg
Wellness Forever Medicare
Other E-pharmacy companies
Reason for the order surge
Demand for Covid-19 related products
FAQ

Growth of E-pharmacy market

The growth of the e-pharmacy sector has increased by up to 35 % compared to last year according to Industry trackers which is almost 3 times the expansion in the number of consumers ordering medicines and the essential substances for Covid-19 online. They claim that the sector is expected to witness much more growth in the current year as well.

Ankur Pahwa who is the Partner and National leader for the E-commerce and Consumer Internet sector of EY India had said that since the base is much more larger, they expect the growth to slow down. He added that the sector will not be able to see a growth of 40-45 % this year, but is still expected to remain high because of the increase of digitalization in the country.

EY has an estimation that the online pharmacy sector in India will grow to around USD 2.7 billion by the year 2023 from USD 360 million in 2019.


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1mg is one of the top 3 e-pharmacy firm in the country. The company has said that there has been an increase in the medicines such as Fabiflu and Doxzee which is said to treat the mild cases of Covid-19. The company said that there was an increase of around 40x to 50x in the month of April 2021 compared to March 2021.

The company said that the sales of these drugs would have been higher if they wouldn’t have faced challenges regarding the supply of the drugs. 1mg reported that the demand for the Covid-19 related products was 5 times more in the month of April 2021 compared to the previous month March 2021.

Wellness Forever Medicare

Wellness Forever which is an omnichannel pharmacy chain has said that their orders have increased due to the second wave by around 25 %. The company has said that they have seen an increased demand for medical devices such as thermometers and oximeters, medicines and FMCG products.

Gulshan Bhaktiani who is the co-founder of Wellness Forever Medicare said that the company has seen a similar rise in order over different mediums such as walk-ins, app and calls. The company’s revenue had seen an increase of around 25 % for the year ended March 2021.

Indian pharmaceutical sector growth
Indian pharmaceutical sector growth

Other E-pharmacy companies

Pharmeasy which is backed by Prosus and the leader of the online pharmacy market in India said that the company is looking forward to provide vaccination for around 30 million people. The company wants to become the largest private player in the vaccination drive in India.

It is planning to work with Corporates, healthcare providers and resident welfare associations.

Even the healthcare booking platform Practo has said that it is planning to largely work with corporates in order to provide vaccination to around 10 million people. The company has already confirmed that around 500 corporates have shown interest and have an employee strength of 1 million.

The company said that it is looking forward to work with around 1,000 companies for the first round of the vaccination drive.


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Reason for the order surge

The increase in the cases due to the second wave in most of the metro cities and this leading to lockdown and strict curfews have made the consumers to order the medicines and the Covid related items online rather than visiting offline pharmacies and diagnostic centers.

According to the company executives and industry experts, this is the major reason for the increase in sales by up to 25 – 65 % for online pharmacies.

Prashant Tandon who is the co-founder of 1mg said that there is an unlimited need by the consumers currently and the company is investing on an active basis to ensure the supply chains can reach the demand of the consumers.

He added that the consumers are very anxious and fearful about exposure as they get their lab tests and medicines.

The demand for Covid-19 related products such as pulse oximeters, oxygen cans, masks, PPE kits, supplements such as Zincovit and Limcee is similar in all the major online pharmacies according to experts.


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FAQ

How do online pharmacies operate?

Customer requests for products on an online platform. The request is sent to an off line brick and mortar store. The prescription is validated and verified by pharmacists and only then the order is accepted for fulfilment.

Does online pharmacy require drug license?

Yes, online pharmacy businesses require drug license.

What is an online prescription?

Online prescription enables people to compare treatment prices, find a healthcare provider, and schedule an appointment all in the comfort of their own home.

Conclusion

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is the main reason for the growth of the e-pharmacy business around the country. We may be able to see an increase in the growth of industries in the coming years.

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