Meet 5 on-demand drug delivery startups that are transforming healthcare in India

With the advent of technology, companies are changing the distribution patterns of everything we consume. This has driven the growth of online and on-demand services such as food delivery, grocery shopping, mobility, and other services in recent years.

On-demand drug delivery startups have also seen growth during the pandemic as people couldn’t go out to buy essential drugs due to lockdown or other restrictions.

According to Research and Markets, Online Pharmacy Market was valued at Rs 50.71 Billion in 2020. It is estimated to reach Rs 458.14 Billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 44.99% over the period 2021-2026.

Here are some startups that are working in the on-demand pharma industry to make drugs and healthcare products available to the last mile.

Netmeds

Founded in 2010 by Pradeep Dadha, the Chennai-based Netmeds e-commerce healthcare portal offers customers the ability to purchase and send medicines from across the country.

Pradeep Dadha

“Our goal is to make medicines affordable and accessible to all Indians, and to reach even the remotest corners of the country. Setting up fulfillment centers in Tier II cities helps us achieve this,” Pradeep said in a previous conversation with YourStory.

According to RoC repositories viewed by Your storythe startup raised Rs 6.19 crore from its parent company, Tresara Health Pvt Ltd, in 2019.

The app has more 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store.

Tata 1MG

Launched as Healthkartplus, 1mg was founded by Prashant Tandon, Vikas Chauhan, and Gaurav Agarwal in 2013. It renamed itself 1mg a few years later.

The platform offers medicines, laboratory tests and medical consultations.

In 2020, the startup raised Rs 71 crore from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In June 2021, Tata Digital acquired a majority stake in 1MG for an undisclosed value.

“At 1mg, our vision is to make healthcare understandable, affordable and accessible. With our strong medical expertise, deep technology experience and focus on execution, we are committed to helping consumers better manage their conditions and live healthier lives. Our ability to attract the best global investors reaffirms the strength of our business,” Prashant said in an earlier conversation with Your story.

The app has more 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store.

Medlife

Ananth Narayanan, Tushar Kumar, and Prashant Singh based Medlife in 2014. The Start-up based in Bangalore is an online platform for online drug delivery, diagnosis and consultation. It aims to fill a gap in the healthcare system through technology.

Prashant Singh and Tushar Kumar, founders of Medlife

“Our mission is to use technology to make Medlife a trusted partner for all health needs of over one hundred million Indians,” said Ananth Narayanan.

In December 2019, the startup raised Rs 110 crore from Wilson Global Opportunities Funds in debt financing. Medlife said it would use the funding for marketing business activities, technology development, payroll costs and future growth.

In 2021, PharmEasy acquired Medlife for an undisclosed amount to become India’s largest drug delivery startup.

TABLT

Founded in 2018 by Anish Agarwal and Anant Jain, Kolkata-based TABLT is an online pharmacy dealing in medicines and other health products. It offers door-to-door delivery of medicines in remote and rural areas of India through community partners, apps and teleservices.

“Once you move to smaller cities and towns, the delivery time for medicines – with discounts and same-day/next day in metros – extends to five to seven days. In most towns, they don’t even deliver refrigerated products. Local pharmacies are not able to supply all the medicines; there are usually stockouts,” Anish said.

The startup claims to have registered over 12 lakh orders from 1.5 lakh customers. TABLT delivers medicines to cities like Patna, Islampur, Daltongaj, Rayagada, Kishanganj and others.

Myra Medicines

Founded in 2014 by Anirudh Coontoor and Faizan Aziz, Myra Medicines is a drug delivery startup that claims to deliver drugs within 30 minutes to an hour in Bengaluru.

In 2019, the startup was acquired by the online pharmacy Medlife to strengthen its pharma business.

“Our state-of-the-art technology allows couriers to reach customers in the shortest possible time. This, combined with Medlife’s strong presence in India, will help develop the solutions further and make the whole cycle more efficient,” the founders said.

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