Bangalore-based HealthTech startup Practo has added an option on its app that allows users to order medicine. Currently, the service is only available in a few places in Bangalore.
For the medicines that are marked ‘Rx’ on the app the users are asked to show a prescription at the time of delivery. For majority of the medicines, users will have to upload an image of their prescription in order to get the medicines delivered.
Medicines listed on the platform include over-the-counter, prescription drugs as well as Ayurvedic medicine. The feature is still in beta testing and a few weeks away from being completely ready.
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Under its terms and conditions, the company claims to be an online aggregator of local pharmacies and promises delivery only if a user has a verified original prescription issued by a registered medical practitioner.
In June 2015, FICCI was appointed as the nodal agency to consolidate and frame guidelines for online sales of medicines through ecommerce. In December, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) issued a notice asking all drug control administrations of state governments and union territories to take action against ‘epharmacies’ that are selling medicines online in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules.
When we spoke to Practo Team about this, they said that as the company has over 200,000 doctors on its platform, therefore, a better integration of medicine delivery within the purview of DCGI is possible. However, they declined to share the complete details on how this will be managed and said that rest of the things will be specified at the time of the official launch of the service.
A company spokesperson said, “Several months ago, We had stated our intent that Practo will also solve the medicine and pharmacy aspect of the healthcare experience. In line with that we are currently running a pilot in limited areas of Bangalore. We believe that with an end-to-end integration across Practo’s platform, which has 200,000 doctors and 10,000 hospitals we can provide a uniquely seamless experience to consumers. We also believe that our model addresses the concerns raised by the various stakeholders in recent times.”
This comes after Practo acquired cloud-based hospital information management company Insta Health Solutions. It is leveraging on PractoRay, a practice management software and Practice Reach, which is a sponsored listing service for hospitals and doctors.
Other players in this segment include Merapharmacy.com, Netmeds.com and Medidart.com that supply prescription-based medicines.
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