Netmed.com, an online pharmacy, plans to start supplying to offline pharmacies apart from selling directly to patients.
Pradeep Dadha, founder and CEO of Netmed, said the company had the requisite infrastructure in place and was awaiting the goods and services tax to begin business-to-business arrangements with pharmacies.
Dadha explained transporting medicines from one state to another would become less taxing in the GST regime. Netmed plans to procure from drug manufacturers and sell to pharmacies it has tie-ups with. At present, the company procures from wholesale and retail shops to cater to its clientele.
Netmed wants to spread its network to all Tier-II and Tier-III cities, where Dhadha feels the real market lies. “Why will anyone with a pharmacy in the neighbourhood buy medicines for chronic diseases from an online pharmacy?” he said, adding “In smaller towns and places like the north-east, where there are no other means of buying medicines, online pharmacies are needed.”
Hitesh Sharma, partner and leader of life sciences at Ernst & Young, is of the opinion that while this business will succeed, how long it will take to become successful is not known. He also feels that once online pharmacies become successful, offline pharmacies will also want to convert to the digital platform.
Dadha also plans to have his company listed on the stock exchange in the next four years.
Netmeds Marketplace was launched by Dadha, whose family ran Tamilnadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Sun Pharmaceuticals in 1997. S Mohanchand Dadha, father of Pradeep Dadha who founded Tamilnadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals, is now a member of the board of Sun Pharmaceuticals, India’s top drugmaker.
In October 2015, Netmeds received funding worth $50 million (Rs 325 crore) from the healthcare-focused global equity firm OrbiMed, with participation from existing investors MAPE (M&A Private Equity Advisory Group) and the Dadha family investment fund.
In May 2015, MAPE had said it would invest about $10 million in the yet-to-be launched Netmeds, taking the total Series A funding to $60 million.