Express Pharma

By mid-2021 we aim to establish Generic Aadhaar outlets in 125 cities

Recently, an 18-year-old young entrepreneur, Arjun Deshpande was in the news since Ratan Tata decided to invest in his start-up Generic Aadhaar. Though it was a small, token investment, the fact that it attracted Mr Tata attention is noteworthy. The venture seeks to provide quality generic medicines from pharma manufacturers at a much lesser cost and increase accessibility to medicines across the country. Arjun Deshpande, Founder, Generic Aadhaar shares more details about his company's vision, and its company's expansion plans, with Usha Sharma 

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Tell us how Generic Aadhaar is different from the government’s Jan Aushadhi stores?  

With Generic Aadhaar we have introduced a business model that can support multi-disciplinary medications. Our stores are equipped to sell all types of allopathy medicines. In a way, there isn’t much of a difference between the two stores. We are actually complementing the Government’s effort of making affordable medicines available to the masses. Our franchising model helps in generating gainful employment for the youth of the country and also in promoting entrepreneurship. While keeping in mind customer advantage, Generic Aadhaar ensures that small chemists and retailers earn the benefits of the business too. The medicines are given to the pharmacies at manufacturing cost which is then sold to customers, thereby reducing cost up to 80 per cent. We also collaborate with the manufacturers by increasing their supply as demand increases, which in turn, helps manufacturing facilities double their profits. Generic Aadhaar protects the interests of customers, retailers and manufacturers alike.

Though the Indian population would like to get medicines at lower prices, they still repose their trust in branded medicines. So, how do you plan to inform the masses that quality should not be equated with only branded medicines?

This is the most important factor that needs careful consideration. While affordability is key, acceptability remains a challenge. We intend to take the supply side, with whom we partner, in confidence and seek their support in educating consumers on how the quality and composition of generics is the same as branded drugs. We intend to partner with government agencies and regulators and conduct an elaborate consumer education programme by setting up dedicated medical camps for the purpose. We also run free medical camps on days of national importance such as January 26 and August 15. Generic Aadhaar outlets also help regular senior citizens and other customers with information on dosages, medicines and also remind them about taking medicines on time. The store owners give consultations to customers when they should refer to the doctors.

It is important that we inform customers that generic medicines are the same as branded medicines, the only difference is generic medicines do not carry a company name. These medicines are also manufactured in the same GMP-WHO approved manufacturing facilities. Generic and branded medicines are bio-equivalent.

How did you get an idea for this business and what is its USP? 

During summer breaks, I used to travel abroad with my mother. While she attended seminars about the pharma industry, I pondered and questioned how the medicines manufactured in India are being sold at an affordable cost abroad. On the other hand, in India, the same medicines are sold at a higher cost which includes marketing and packaging costs. Thus, came the idea of providing generic medicines at an affordable price to customers while also helping small retailers. India is one of the biggest suppliers and manufacturers of generic medicines and we must make use of the full potential of our generic medicines industry. Generic Aadhaar aims to sell generic medicines to the masses at a much economical rate than the market price.

Recently, Ratan Tata invested in your venture. So how did he get interested in your startup? What are your business commitments to him?

We are honoured to have Mr Tata as an investor in our venture. Our commitment is to deliver a good return on investment (ROI). He has invested in our venture because he felt that our business model was impactful as well as innovative. Since Generic Aadhaar focuses on helping customers and retailers alike, he believes it is a better system than the normal B2B2C startups functioning in the country. Mr Tata believes in helping the masses of the country which coincides with the objective of Generic Aadhaar, to be able to provide affordable healthcare to