Consumers are “apprehensive about exposure” while venturing outside for medicines and lab results and prefer online options. (Representative image: Reuters)
E-pharmacies in India have seen a 25-65 percent jump in their sales, mostly of common drugs, health supplements, medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE).
A soaring number of infections during the second coronavirus wave in the country, coupled with local lockdowns, have made people turn to online health resources instead of usual visits to offline pharmacies and diagnostic centres, The Economic Times has reported.
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1mg said sales of Doxzee and Fabiflu, both used in the treatment of COVID-19, have jumped 40-50 times in April compared to March. The demand for COVID-19 related products increased five times in April from March, it said. Sales would be much higher if product supplies were available.
Prashant Tandon, co-founder and CEO of 1mg, told the newspaper that consumers are “apprehensive about exposure” while venturing outside for medicines and lab results and prefer online options. “…need at present is unbounded,” he said, adding the company was “actively investing” to cater to demand.
Items in high demand across e-pharmacies include masks, oxygen cans, PPE kits, pulse oximeters and supplements such as Limcee and Zincovit, experts said.
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Gulshan Bhaktiani, co-founder, Wellness Forever Medicare, said orders jumped 25 percent, especially for FMCG products, oximeters, medicines and thermometers.
Users ordering medicines online grew three times, say industry watchers, which means the sector is “bound to see strong growth this year as well”. Last year, the growth was around 35 percent.
EY estimates India's online pharmacy sector to grow to about $2.7 billion by 2023 from $360 million in 2019.
Growth across the industry was 30-35 percent due to a “spike in orders in April”, one executive said.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here