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Varanasi students to the aid of patients needing drugs via online venture supplies drugs to the doorsteps of patients, and tells them of doctors available in the region

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra  |  Bengaluru 

Aditya Agrawal and Arpit Sarin
Aditya Agrawal and Arpit Sarin

It’s not always innovation that leads to the launch of a business. Identifying problems typical to a region or locality can also throw up opportunities. That is what Aditya Agrawal, a graduate in electrical and electronics engineering, and his friend Arpit Sarin are doing in Varanasi. They plan to expand the initiative to other cities in Uttar Pradesh.

During the hot summer of 2013, Agrawal and Sarin went around the streets of Varanasi to do a door-to-door survey of 2,000 households, only to realise how getting regular supply of medicines was a major issue for these people. It was more challenging for patients suffering from chronic diseases and senior citizens whose children resided in other cities, as stores were primarily in and around hospitals. This finding inspired the duo to try to use the internet and mobile telephony. Within nine months, Agrawal and Sarin launched, to not only supply medicines to the doorsteps of patients, but also assist them with the database of doctors available in the region for different ailments.

Patients can now place their orders by phone calls, booking online or through WhatsApp messages. Agrawal is now developing a mobile application with the help of Microsoft under the latter’s BizSpark programme, which will have geo-tagging of doctors and a reminder tool for patients before their stock gets exhausted. The young entrepreneurs’ passions is also driven by a sense of social commitment. While they are supplying medicines to the doorsteps at a discount of 10 per cent on the retail price, they have requested some 150 doctors in Varanasi to offer one hour of consulting services every week free to needy patients. They are providing the medicines prescribed by them for free, with the help of charitable organisations and programmes.

“When I was a child, I knew such problems existed but I did not have a solution then. That’s why we decided to do a proper survey during vacation in 2013 and found how senior citizens often missed their doses due to travel concerns, as shops were located near clinics and hospitals,” says Agrawal, pursuing his MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Banaras Hindu University. The due have spent Rs 4 lakh towards their venture, which they mostly raised by offering tuition to students and conducting classes at coaching centres.

The cost is primarily towards marketing They are able to manage the operational expenses every month from sales.

Recently, the start-up partnered Bajaj Allianz to cater to the needs of the insurer’s policy holders. “This has given us a huge client base. We are planning to expand our services to Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur and Allahabad,” Agrawal said. is also conducting a programme called Dawaidedo, appealing patients and their family members to donate leftover medicines.

These medicines are distributed among the poor.

The company has now three core members, six extended members, and a few volunteers.

Agrawal plans to relocate the headquarters to Delhi soon.

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First Published: Thu, February 19 2015. 00:43 IST