Delhi based startup YoPharma is creating an experience around the simple act of ordering medicines. We have seen the rise of healthcare based startups catering to the various facets of the country’s health conditions in recent times. On one end we have the largest diabetic population in the world and we are becoming the medical tourism powerhouse in the world on the other end we have a huge section of the population dying due to inaccessibility to timely and affordable medication.
YoPharma is better alternative to existing neighborhood pharmacy stores, providing better information about products, larger catalogue of products. The best way to understand what YoPharma is doing is to think of them as a tech savvy medical store than merely an online retailer. Currently catering to audiences only in the Delhi NCR region, YoPharma’s offering could be divided in three major verticals of web, offline and app.
The web offering of YoPharma is the one around which the entire experience is centered. A user signs up on the site and like any digital store searches for their desired items which in this case are things like medicines or health supplements. The items are added to the virtual cart and the user can check-out. The standard methods of online payments and cash on delivery work effectively.
YoPharma can generally do same day delivery and in certain exceptional cases perform express shipment of the medical products. The most exciting option is the prescription tab on the website, which allows the users to manually enter the name of the medication they can’t find on the site or upload their prescription for single or regular delivery of the product.
Offline: YoPharma typically offers a call-center number where the user can order their medication online. This in reality might turn out to be dark horse of the service, as people are always confused about their medication (plus, can you read doctor’s handwriting?) and a typical conversation with the pharmacist centers around asking the use of the medication and generic alternatives for the same.
App: We had the chance to try out the early build of the YoPharma Android app and which would release in its beta avatar on the Jan 15 in the Play store. The app might turn out to be the low hanging fruit for the service as it helps to get early users adopters onboard. The users can click a picture of any prescription irrespective of whether a purchase for it has been made on YoPharma and send it to them via the app. They will transcribe it and add it to the app as reminders with the name of the medication and the appropriate time.
Things such as doctor’s special notes like medication on empty stomach are all added and nifty features such as medication taken or not helps keep a track the drug taken over a given period.
What about the legal part? (read: why no online pharmacy store in India?)
Cofounder, Chhavi Gupta shares that they have a license of a regular pharmacist.
“We are complying to all the required regulatory requirements. Medicines are dispensed from license premises only. Digital prescriptions are not treated as an authentic proof as their physical counterparts. Wherever required we get the authorized copy of prescriptions.”
The product has a few jagged edges – the website could definitely use a more intuitive user interface with a focus visual flair. Granted seeing pictures of medication might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but nothing beats the visual connect for a first time user when he/she identifies requirements from image of the packaging.
We are definitely keeping a lookout for YoPharma during the coming months when the service would see a revamp in the form of greater focus on the app by making it efficient at tracking parameters for blood pressure and diabetes; sharing medical records with doctors and making medicine purchase in-app itself.