100-year-old pharma company hooks on to Net

Pradeep Dadha

Chennai-based Dadha Pharma to launch online service

Mumbai, May 1



The recent online retail wave has swept along not only new age entrepreneurs but also 100-year-old brick-and-mortar companies. Chennai-based Dadha Pharmaceuticals is one of them.

The Dadha group will soon launch its online pharmacy, Netmeds. It recently completed a successful trial run in Chennai and assures clients that it will deliver medicines within 24 hours. To tap the entire country, Netmeds has tied up with India Post to handle the delivery.

In 1914, the Dadha family ventured into pharmaceutical retailing business and entered into drug manufacturing in 1972. The manufacturing unit, Tamil Nadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals, was later merged with Sun Pharma in 1996. Today, the Group sells drugs in wholesale in Kerala and retail in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from nominal discounts for branded drugs, the pharma company is attracting customers by offering generic alternatives for every medicine ordered on its website. Generic drugs are at least 30-40 per cent cheaper than the branded drugs.

Customers who can read doctors prescription can type it on Netmeds to find the generic substitute and receive their delivery within 2-4 days. Alternatively, they can take a picture of the prescription and upload it on the portal. A tele-caller from Netmeds will call the customers to confirm the order and process their payment.

Growing competition

Netmeds has managed to raise an undisclosed amount as seed funding for his new venture from Mape Advisory Group, an investment bank and private equity advisory.

The Indian pharmacy market is estimated at ₹83,000 crore with drugs consumed for chronic ailments such as diabetics, blood pressure and hyper tension accounting for 40-50 per cent of it.

“Even if we manage to capture 3-4 per cent of this chronic drug market, we should be a one billion dollar company by 2020,” Pradeep Dadha, promoter, Netmeds.

Asked about the growing competition from other portals, Dadha said unlike most competitors Netmeds would be able to deliver drugs across the country. Some of the existing players in online pharmacy include HealthKart, Meramedicare, Apollo Pharmacy and Buy Drugs.

Former IGATE CEO Phaneesh Murthy recently entered into the online market place with PM Health and Life Care while private equity-backed MedPlus Health Services entered the online pharmacy space.

Published on May 01, 2015

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