This Pharmacy May Solve India’s Prescription Services Problem

New Delhi, June 3: Though India is fast emerging as an economic superpower, yet its healthcare industry presents a dismal picture.     Why ? Because the doctor: patient ratio is abysmally low; two, often vital drugs are either scarce or too highly priced for the common man to afford them. Three the                country’s medical infrastructure is poor. Against this background, a young woman entrepreneur decided to go ahead and plug the loopholes in the existing medication prescription industry in India. With a bang she opened a physical storefront pharmacy –never heard of in India before. Meet Gauri Angrish who holds a graduate degree in sciences from University of Nottingham, UK. She worked as an analyst in the pharmaceutical and medical division of McKinsey and Co.

Angrish recalls, “All our clients were pharmaceutical manufacturers…..they were spending millions to create medicinal awareness.”   This helped her to spot a gap in the market. She also knew that 30% of the country’s population suffers from chronic pain, and the number is spiraling owing to changing lifestyles. Quite naturally there exists a huge market for pain management.

Also, more people are opting for nuclear rather than joint families.  This is giving way to faster, unhealthy lifestyles that are ultimately responsible for a rise in chronic ailments. Diabetes happens to be a major lifestyle disease today. As per  International Diabetes Foundation’’s  findings , over 65.1 million Indian are affected by diabetes today. Alarmingly the average age for diabetics in the country has dropped, to 35.

Opening a physical pharmacy storefront, in the capital’s upmarket  Lajpat Nagar helped  Angrish figure out market needs  terms of regularity with which prescription medications were required. She airs her views, “the pharmacy retail industry in India is very saturated only in terms of the players, not in terms of services……….there’s a big need for what happens once one has procured the medicines. How do you manage and adhere to it? …..we wanted to be a new age pharmacy,” she concludes.

Thus the new age pharmacy, Coral Careshop  was born. And it soon become part of a larger book of services, branded as Coral Carebook,  Angrish being its Founder and CEO. By interacting with customers frequenting the Coral Careshop pharmacy, Angrish discovered why people don’t adhere to their medicinal prescriptions. She decided find out a way to change the reasons for missed doses.

This led to the creation of Coral Caredose, a system by which patients can receive their prescriptions delivered by dose and packaged accordingly with clear dosage labels. Reminders to take the medication are sent through mobile text alerts. Angrish elaborates, “Any customer who comes on board, we send the exact use of the medicines and how you adhere to it.”  Interestingly, her company received a patent approval for a refill mechanism which it developed – to deliver repeat prescriptions to patients just in time before the first dose is due. The elderly population is a huge market for this type of prescription delivery.

The company is on the verge of producing and marketing the Coral Carekit– something which most Indian households, offices, and schools lack. School across New Delhi has been selected for its trial run.

What are the challenges unique to India?

Angrish says the company has to innovate because they are dealing with foil packaged medicines, whereas abroad, pills are individual. This means teaming up with a robotics company to develop a mechanism by which the automation of repeat prescriptions can continue safely and legally. Additionally there are legal hassles over online pharmacies in India.  However, Angrish plans to sidestep the issue by expanding individually with a physical presence in every state across the country.