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Netmeds secures $50 million in a round of funding led by OrbiMed


Dadha Group-promoted online pharmacy Netmeds has raised $50 million in a funding round led by OrbiMed, reports Economic Times. Other investors who participated in this round include boutique investment bank MAPE Advisory Group and founder & CEO Pradeep Dadha’s family investment fund.

NetMeds was started earlier in June this year offers a selection of both prescription drugs and non-prescription products besides personal care, wellness and household products and claims to supply over 50,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) across India from its warehouse in Chennai.

Customers need to upload a prescription to order medicine using the app or its website.The app is available for both Android and iOS.  Note that according to the company’s terms and conditions, it says that a caregiver for a patient can order medicine on their behalf. We’re not sure if online pharmacies can allow caregivers order medicine according to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Netmeds is also unclear on how it will verify a caregiver. There’s still a lot of regulation to be worked out for online pharmacies. More on that here.

The ET report also added that NetMeds plans to use about $10 million to develop its back-end infrastructure and logistics.  It also plans to use the funding raised to increase the consumer awareness.

OrbiMed is a healthcare-dedicated investment firm which has about $5 billion assets under management. Its other most recent investment includes participation in a round of funding in Audentes Therapeutics, a biotechnology firm.

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– Its immediate competition is 1mg which offers  price comparison and cheaper substitutes among exact formulations for the same medicine. It asks users to submit prescriptions for prescriptions drugs. It claims to have qualified pharmacists on board who provide relevant info about medicines by scanning products.

– In July, mChemist, an online pharmacy started by former pharmaceutical executives, launched operations. The service also allows users to upload their prescriptions via WhatsApp.

– In August former iGate CEO Phaneesh Murthy launched a new health exchange startup, Zigy.com. Zigy claims it connects Indian residents with doctors, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostic labs and providers of wellness products and services, insurance, home care services and alternative medicines. At the time, the medicine section mentioned ‘coming soon’, possibly because the DCGI is still formulating a framework for online sales of medicines through e-commerce channels.

– In October, alternative medicine platform Welcome Cure raised $6 million in a round of pre-series A funding. Welcome Cure offers all kinds of homeopathic treatments on its platform, which it claims to deliver all across the world. Users first need to sign up on the platform post which they can enter the health problems they have. Users then need to select a paid health plan, which costs Rs 3,500 for 3 months to Rs 16,000 for 24 months.

However, it needs to be pointed out that  Welcome Cure is an alternate medicine portal, which by definition is not considered real medicine. For this reason, the regulations regarding pharmacy act does not apply to it.

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