Says, Hemant Bhardwaj, Co-Founder, MD and CEO, PM Health and Life Care Pvt Ltd, in conversation with Ekta Srivastava, Healthtechnology.in
Concept behind the PMHLC
We floated this company on January 14th with an objective to build a bridge between the healthcare providers and consumers. What we call it as a health exchange. We connect hospitals, pharmacy, clinics, homecare service providers and the consumer. But what we realize is that in this whole game we need something which will remain the core of this business, and that thing is medicine. Medicine is one thing which consumer will buy regularly, say in a rotation of a week or 15 days. And that is where we are launching our first line of business which will be managed market force for selling the medicines for the consumers, where we have networks of retailers, who will sell the medicines to the consumers. Our job will be to create awareness to the consumers, generate demand, take the order, verify the order, give it to the retailer, help him to assemble it, pack it, deliver it to the consumer, take the money and give it back to the retailer. This is the whole concept which we are launching.
Opportunities in online pharmacies
Opportunity, we see in two ways. We think that digital channel is going to impact healthcare industry in a very positive way. The people or the company ;like us who entered into this field, there are chance that we can brings lot of best practices, we can build the trust with the consumers, among the regulators, the supply side and ensure that this whole ecosystem tries to fulfill the need of the consumers.
Please give me the medicine which my doctor has given, please give me medicine which is not spurious and please give it quickly, because, I can’t wait for 10 days. In such situations, we are going to see that this channel is really going to help, not just consumers but manufacturers as well. Today, if you see, manufacturers are losing out, because doctors prescribe his medicine but somebody substitute it, fakes him. So, our idea is when technology will come into play, it will be very difficult for people to manipulate this. This is the beauty of the technology; you can track each and every thing. The reason, we think we will be able to do something very good, in may be coming next two years.
Challenge that you foresee in the industry
The first challenge, for those who are coming into this space will be challenge of getting compliant. This is a very serious business, if it is not managed well within the framework of government of India or regulators has made there will be a chaos. The second challenge is about creating awareness about the whole consumer behavior. Like, consumer need to be told when you ordered something over the phone, it is non-compliant, send a prescription and many more.
Concept in India pilling up pace
We would love if four-five big players who have got equity and trust in the market place, should come into this market space. When those guys will come in, people will start believing in this space, in this industry. It is going to become 300,000 crore market by 2020, so you can imagine together we cannot eat that share. There is enough food on the plate. I am very happy that recently, Tata announced that they are coming into this space. So, yes it will be interesting in the coming future to see how the things move.
Roadmap ahead for PMHLC
We are launching in first five cities, which are Delhi, Mumbai, Bnagalore, Hyderabad and Chennai and then quickly we will move into next 14 cities. We plan to cover urban India, 100 cities within next three years but we also have some big ideas to capture the rural areas as well. So, let see how it goes.
Role of ICT in healthcare
Technology is the solution. There are two three challenges which we are facing today in the healthcare. One is cost of providing healthcare services is very costly, how you can bridge that. So, people like us by using technology making it reachable to the wider market, which means it becomes volume business, which means cost per unit comes down drastically. And that cost can be optimized for people. Second, what is making this healthcare expensive? The answer is those machines which are coming in. Now, the technology will able to bring this cost down. Third is scarcity of specialize talent, which means lack of doctors. Tele-medicine has become one way to bridge it. These shortcomes can be only overdone by the technology, in a much quicker way. Technology is pervasive; it is there in your hands.