RIL picks majority stake in Netmeds: How it became 'India ki pharmacy'

Pradeep Dadha, Founder & CEO,
Reliance Industries Ltd has acquired a majority stake in Chennai-based online pharmacy delivery startup Netmeds (Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd) for a cash consideration of approximately Rs 620 crore. Promoted by Dadha Pharma, Netmeds is one of the earliest players in online pharmacy having incorporated in 2015.

"It is indeed a proud moment for Netmeds to join Reliance family and work together to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible to every Indian. With the combined strength of the group’s digital, retail and tech platforms, we will strive to create more value for everyone in the ecosystem, while providing a superior Omni Channel experience to consumers," said Pradeep Dadha, Founder & CEO, Netmeds.

Now, let's take a look at the success story of Netmeds from just an idea to becoming 'India Ki Pharmcy'.

Netmeds was founded in 2015 by Pradeep Dadha, whose family ventured into the pharmaceutical retailing business in 1914 and entered into drug manufacturing in 1972.

The manufacturing unit, Tamil Nadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals, was later merged with Sun Pharma in 1996. Today, the Group sells drugs in wholesale in Kerala and retail in Tamil Nadu.

Pradeep Dadha leads the Pradeep Dadha group of companies and is the chairman of Notch Media.

The idea of Netmeds was born when Pradeep was thinking of initiating online sales for his family business as internet penetration in India was also growing leaps and bounds, creating a favourable environment for e-commerce/ e-pharma to operate.

He wanted to utilise the possibility of online stores and came up with Netmeds.

To Pradeep Dadha's advantage, he comes from a family that has been in the pharma business for over 100 years. His grandfather, Lalchand, who founded Dadha and Co in 1914 and his father Mohanchand grew it in one of the most trusted pharma companies in South India.

But this does not give an edge except for the trust factor. In one of his interviews, Pradeep Dadha said the company's biggest challenge during the initial days was with the perception of the consumer that buying medicines online may not be safe.

The company had to build transparency and trust in its operations and process. For example. the company had pharmacists to do the due diligence just like a traditional brick and mortar pharmacy.

Similarly, dealing with large stock units (SKUs) and ensuring their availability across the country was also a challenge that the company faced during its initial days. The company has managed to scale the breadth of the country providing quality and affordable healthcare even to the most outlying areas.

Unlike most competitors Netmeds would be able to deliver drugs across the country, Dadha said in the interview. Netmeds offers a pan-India solution for the quick online purchase and fast delivery of prescription medications to over 20,000 pin codes. Netmeds has served over 5.7 million customers in more than 670 cities and towns. Consumers get access to more than 70,000 prescription drugs for chronic and recurring ailments as well as enhanced lifestyle drugs.

The company also used technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand customers, predict trends and build a preventive healthcare ecosystem around Netmeds.

"Technology helps not just our core product offering of medicines delivery, but it plays a definitive role in transforming Netmeds into a complete healthcare product and service company as we diversify into telemedicine/ online doctor consultation diagnostics and generic drugs," Dadha said.

The company last year roped in cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel