What the doctor ordered to manage pharma supply chain

Bhavik Kumar Jain, founder and CEO of Medibox Digital Solutions Pvt Ltd

Medibox provides an online platform for pharmaceutical and healthcare products

For Bhavik Kumar Jain, healthtech was a different kind of calling. He had worked in telecom services, financial services, pharmaceuticals and healthcare for over 14 years. He worked in senior management role in a pharma company for over five years and life was relatively steady. All that changed in 2012 when Bhavik was visiting Vijayawada, Guntur and a few other places when he noticed the harsh realities of healthcare delivery systems in India.

“There was a dearth of medicines for patients and a lack of awareness on the availability and affordability of those medicines. There were scenes of patients dying on hospital floors and of people who yearned to live for a few more precious last moments and spend those moments with their loved ones but couldn’t do so because of the inaccessibility of certain medicines and healthcare products at that moment,” says Bhavik.

Medicines were not available at the hospitals and pharmacies; in some other cases the cost of the medicines was beyond the reach of patients. In certain cases, the quality and efficacy of the medicines were in question, as fakes had proliferated. “Many of the patients were dying because they didn’t have access to accurate information and even the pharmacists weren’t sure about the availability or authenticity of those medicines,” he says.

As he was grasping with this reality, Bhavik encountered similar problems at dealers, distributors and stockists on his subsequent business trips to various parts of India. The fact that he had worked with contract manufacturers, hospitals and distributors across India for 3-4 years, wherein he was able to establish a network, their availability in different parts of India sparked the idea of a venture. Bhavik quit his job, applied at a couple of Ivy League institutes. He was chosen for a leadership and general management programme at MIT Sloan, Boston where he specialised in supply chain management in pharma.

 

Common platform

He thought that all that was required here was somebody who could connect buyers and sellers on a common platform so that any patient who reaches out to a particular pharmacy or a hospital gets the right information on the products at any given time and where factors of affordability or availability of suppliers are not a disadvantage or a cause for concern to business entities. Thus was born Medibox, a B2B SaaS-based collaborative platform for procuring, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical and healthcare products online.

Along with the other founder Mayank Singhal, this platform for traders and brand owners is making an effort to decrease their spends on procurement and help them increase sales. The healthtech start-up aims to solve the problem of availability and accessibility of pharma and healthcare products with real-time information. It is like a pilot’s dashboard and a hospital or a pharmacy can reduce stock-outs, expiries and enables supply chain efficiencies, according to Bhavik. By and large, it is attempting to be a venture that through the use of technology will update a pharmacy in Pudukottai, regarding the availability of Mixtard or Glycomet in real time. When there is a shortage, or if the stock runs low, the system will throw up an alert to replenish the same.

Medibox was launched on August 2016 in Bengaluru and is operational in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kolkata. Medibox has listed over 1,75,000 pharmacies, 45,000 suppliers and created a product master of 1,00,000 brands. It has bagged a couple of large fortune 500 pharma clients, in addition to retail pharmacies, hospitals and home healthcare centres.

The idea in itself is replicable and other ventures that have similar offerings, are piggybacking on technology. Miljon Medi APP, a healthtech start-up with B2B digital platform connects generics pharmaceutical manufacturers to the entire pharma channel till the retail chemist.

The company says it has some of the leading generics manufacturers on the platform with an existing network of around 73 distributors and 9,380 chemists as its active users. It recently got acquired by BSE-listed GlobalSpace Technologies. Also, the healthcare sector is seeing increasing interest from investors.

Published on August 06, 2018

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