Recently, a mobile app called ‘Medi-App’ was launched for chemists, which is expected to help pharma companies, distributors, stockists and retailers to enhance the existing supply chain. John Kuriakose, Director and Founder and Akshay Jain, Director, Miljon Medi App, elaborate more the app, its benefits and their company’s growth strategies
Tell us about Miljon MediApp and its functionality
Medi-App is India’s first mobile application for retail chemists, launched by Miljon Medi-App, connecting pharma companies, distributors, stockists and retailers. The aim is to introduce digitisation in the order procurement process at the retail level, which is still in the archaic stage of salesmen booking orders from chemists directly. Medi-app will also be a direct medium of communication between the company and the retail trade.
Medi-app is purely a B2B platform which offers company-specific products to the retail chemists. The app is available free for chemists and stockists.
Medi-App has the following information and functions:
- Product range with composition, pack shots
- Product MRP and PTR (Price to retailer).
- Scheme/ bonus offer details
- Order placing by retail chemists which are conveyed to the stockist in real time.
- Company notifications for new products, schemes/ gifts etc. can be sent direct to the chemists.
- Profile of chemists with all details of licenses, address, phone numbers and email ids.
- History of purchases made.
Overall, how much investment did you make in developing the app? And from where did you arrange the funds? Do you have further investment plans?
Medi-app is an original and pioneering idea developed by John Kuriakose. Medi-app and its back-end systems have been developed by DuBase, a Bengaluru-based software company, at the cutting edge of cloud computing technology. All funds required for developing the app and propagating it so far are internally funded. India has about 10 lakh retail chemists. It will require about Rs 100 crores to cover all chemists. Initial investments for covering one lakh chemists requiring about Rs 10 crores will be funded with company’s own resources.
Miljon is co-certified under the Start-Up India scheme of Government of India. We can access funds from the special fund of Rs 10,000 crores, set apart by the government for startups through venture funds. We also plan to go public in two years to fund our expansion.
How are you creating app awareness among pharmacists? Till now, how many chemists have installed and how many are you targeting?
Medi-app was test marketed in Mumbai and Jagraon (Punjab) before its formal launch in August 17. The test marketing was done with products of Makers Laboratories (An IPCA Group Co), from May to July 17. The results were very encouraging with 100 per cent success in downloads among the chemists targeted. 84 per cent used the app to place orders and 38 per cent placed repeat orders.
Retail chemists are being approached directly using our stockist network and our field staff for downloading medi-app.
Miljon plans to cover 10 lakh chemists over the next five years in a phased manner. In the first 12 months, one lakh chemists in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are being targeted with the help of field staff and stockists. Around 300-500 stockists will be appointed to contact retailers and help them download medi-app. Akshay Jain, Director, Miljon, is in charge of managing this huge task of downloading operations.
How MediApp will have an online touch with traditional flavour? Why do you think this can be a successful model?
Medi-app plans to use and strengthen the existing distribution chain, infusing technology. Today, no retail chemist has direct access to the pharma companies. Knowledge and awareness about full product range of drug companies, especially trade generic companies, is spread by their field staff/ stockists. The retailers also have no direct access to generics pricing offered by companies. They come to know of it through stockists which are often not accurate. Medi-app empowers chemists to get direct access to products of pharma companies with their prices and enables them to place orders direct to the stockists.
Medi-app advantages to stockists
- Direct online link to chemists,
- Less dependency on field staff or salesmen for orders
- Real time receipt of orders enabling better servicing
- No disputes on rates or order quantity
- Full purchase history by chemists
Medi-app advantages to pharma companies
- Direct online link to chemist, stockist and super stockist
- Reduces dependency on field staff to communicate with chemists
- Offers real time tracking of sales at chemist level
- Can tailor make marketing strategies in specific areas trough better and detailed analytics
- Direct and instant communication with chemists through medi-app
- New product launches made easier and more efficient
- Better inventory management
Medi-app plans to safeguard retail chemists from the onslaught of online pharmacies. In the near future, we will offer an extension of medi-app which will link every retail chemist with their regular customers. Customers can upload their prescriptions to the chemist through the app. Thus, every chemist will have a digital link with their customers and ensure that their customers continue to buy from them. So medi-app will be safeguarding the interests of brick and mortar chemists from online pharmacies. This will also enable pharma companies to be linked to the consumers for the first time.
As we envisage covering the entire chain of pharma sales and strengthening each part of the chain, medi-app is being welcomed by the trade. Companies would rather welcome a ready-made platform like medi-app, rather than try to re-invent the wheel. Miljon plans to have a turnover of Rs 1000 crore by 2020. This will ensure its success.
Tell us the company’s strategic partnership with Makers Laboratories?
WIN division of Makers Laboratories, Ipca Group is the first company which has launched its entire product portfolio on Medi-App portal. Miljon Medi App has entered into a franchise agreement with Makers Labs to launch WIN division. These are trade generic products. Miljon will be responsible for all marketing and sales activities. About 40 products in various categories like antibiotics, analgesics, anti-inflammatory, antacid and nutraceuticals are being launched. These products will be exclusively available only on medi-app.
Prashant Godha, Executive Director, Ipca Labs, said that he was confident of the potential of Medi-app and the advantages it offered in making WIN division a success.
Which pharma products will be available on your app?
Miljon is in talks with other pharma companies for bringing them onboard medi-app, which is going to be the largest platform of retail chemists in India. Several companies have shown great interest. We will be adding companies in the next six months. We are confident that most major companies would come onboard in the coming years.
Which drugs will be available on the app and will they be available at discounted rates?
About 40 products in various categories like antibiotics, analgesics, anti-inflammatory, antacid and nutraceuticals will be available. All schemes and offers by the company are passed on to the chemists.