Prashant Tandon can at best hazard a guess why digital healthcare platform 1mg was handpicked for the Unreasonable Goals programme, an initiative that tackles the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, as outlined by the United Nations.
“We have been breaking down medicine prices and bringing in transparency by giving the consumer more choice. That also means more power to the consumer,” says Tandon, co-founder of 1mg, happy to be chosen for the initiative run by the Unreasonable Group and the US State Department.
1mg was chosen to address “Goal 3 or Health and well being for all”. With a vast database, 1mg helps dispel the “opacity” that surrounds medicine prices, says Tandon, explaining why it is seen as a Wikipedia of sorts on medicines, giving a comparison of medicine prices, among other things.
“Consumers are often not told anything about their medicines or prices; they feel helpless,” he says.
The Unreasonable Group is a firm that supports entrepreneurs who address global challenges. And 16 companies were identified from across the world, one for each UN SDG , says Tandon.
Explaining the “unreasonable part”, he says, companies that go after the big and hard-to-solve problems are chose in this category. “The only requirement from us is to share the impact matrix,” says Tandon, who had to present 1mg’s work at an exclusive event in Washington.
While this is the first global initiative of its kind focussed on scaling up high-growth entrepreneurs worldwide, a note from the US State Department said, “Each year thereafter, the team at Unreasonable will bring together 16 highly scalable entrepreneurial solutions, each uniquely positioned to solve one of the SDGs.”
The inaugural Unreasonable Goals group includes the first fair trade apparel company on the African continent and a company transforming plastic waste from Kenyan slums into a lumber substitute, creating thousands of jobs and saving millions of trees, the State Department said.
With 25 million visits a month at 1mg, Tandon is happy that the Indian government is well disposed to the e-pharmacy segment.
At 1mg, he says, they will continue investing in their e-pharmacy, e-consultant and e-diagnosis segments with plans afoot to expand services to OPDs (out-patient departments) for insurance companies, besides focussing on corporates and pharma companies for their clients and customers.
“We are in the last stages of conversation,” says Tandon, happy to be doing something that is not a “copy-cat” version of something done anywhere in the world.