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Online pharmacy Medybiz to tie up with insurance cos to boost growth

Online pharmacy Medybiz Pharma, which manages one of the country’s largest prescription refill operations touching around 1 million customers across 23 states, is now looking at new verticals like tying up with insurance companies to fuel its future growth.

Gaurav Narang, director and chief operating officer, Medybiz Pharma feels that while hospitalisation is a one-time cost, pharmacy needs are what one needs on a monthly basis. “There are several health insurance companies that now also cover day care expenses, and we are now looking at tying up with some of these to fuel our future growth,” he said.

The company, which has raised a first round of investments of around $ 10 million and has Kewal Handa (ex-managing director of Pfizer) as its chairman,  is aiming to touch a turnover of around Rs  40 crore by the end of the current fiscal. It follows a model whereby it ties up with corporates and not individual patients for delivering medicines. As Narang points out, “In India, the law is not clear on how online pharmacies can work. We follow the business-to-business (B2B) model whereby we tie up with corporate, and in turn, their employees become our members.”

It has tie-ups with 50 such corporate including Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, HCL, Axis Bank, Reliance ADA Group, Kotak Bank and J P Morgan, and through that has access to over 2.5 million potential beneficiaries. For the medicines part, it has associations with some of the major pharma companies like Allergan India Pvt Ltd, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Novartis, MSD, Astra Zeneca, Wockhardt, Abbott Healthcare, Alcon among others.

Diabetes medicines comprise nearly 40 per cent of its sales now, Narang said who did not wish to divulge more numbers. “We are increasingly looking at getting into super speciality pharma medicines like oncology and others which are mostly chronic therapies,” he explained.

Apart from Medybiz, which specialises in prescription drugs, the online pharmacy sector is seeing a lot of action these days, with a handful of e-commerce sites that try to tap the nutraceuticals, herbal, vitamins, beauty and personal care space. For example, Ahmedabad-based online pharmacy store drugneed.com launched in 2012, sells over the counter (OTC) products, and is also looking at raising $ 3-4 million from private equity (PE) funds.

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