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Netmeds, the e-pharmacy chain, has put its plans of setting up brick-and-mortar retail outlets in Chennai on hold, as it continues expansion in Tier-II and -III towns. For now, it is setting up five new warehouses. It also plans to double the number pharmacists on rolls to 120 over the year to support growth. Earlier in the year, Netmeds had announced plans to open 10 stores to cater to patients with immediate medical needs. The offline presence would have helped the company serve a larger pool and in brand building. But, that plan is now on the backburner. “We will look at opening stores later but the plan is on hold now,” said Pradeep Dadha, the chief executive officer and founder of Netmeds. He said the government’s proposed regulations for e-pharmacies will not impact their business and the portal does not dispense medicines without valid prescriptions. The e-pharmacy is owned by the Dadha family and has minority investments from healthcare-focused investment firm Orbimed and boutique investment bank MAPE. In 2015, Netmeds had secured $50-million funding from its investors.
It acquired Delhi-based hyperlocal drug delivery service Pluss in 2016.Dadha said the company has no acquisition plans for now and refused to discuss funding plans. “The e-pharmacy business is growing at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 20 per cent and we are focused on expanding our presence in Tier-II and -III towns. In metro such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai we will soon guarantee delivery to our customers in 24 hours.