Sehat is an online pharmacy which aims to shake up the industry through making the process of purchasing medicine online. We had a chance to sit down with Nadir Mumtaz, CEO of Sehat.com.pk for an exclusive interview. Without further ado, here it is.
How do you ensure all medicine is authentic?
We have direct relationships with the majority of the manufacturers. We always take the warranty of the manufacturer in every transaction. Hence, all of our purchases are warrantied and backed by the manufacturer.
Many medicines need a specific temperature range for storage. How do you handle that during shipping?
Storing medicines that require temperature maintenance is a very serious issue. The efficacy of such medicines is heavily dependent on whether or not the cold chain medicine has been maintained from the time we receive it in our warehouse up to the point of delivery at the customer’s doorstep. Failure to comply with this can result in adverse reactions. We have done extensive experiments throughout the year to test the specialized packaging that we developed to transport temperature sensitive items in the correct temperature range. Over 400 experimented test runs took place to cater for temperature changes during the year throughout the country.
What are your future plans?
There are a number of innovative ideas in the pipeline. We plan to open up satellite warehouses, and pharmacy ATMS. We are also looking at future collaborations with international pharmaceutical manufacturers.
What lessons have you learned after starting multiple ventures in Pakistan?
You have to keep a very close eye on operations and have a very hands on approach, regardless of what business sector you are in.
How has the response for the site been so far?
We’ve had a very encouraging response, especially considering that it has primarily been organic growth. We are currently the leader in the online pharmacy business.We are very happy in particular that there are quite a few expat families living abroad ordering medicines through Sehat for their respective families in Pakistan.
Do you have plans to open a brick and mortar store?
Currently, we do not have any plans to open a brick and mortar pharmacy, but we are thinking about opening up collection centres.
Is an online pharmacy business like yours subject to the same rules and regulations as a physical pharmacy?
Yes, we are. In fact, our rules are more stringent since we are operating online.
Do you have any plans to market your site more effectively?
We do. We have already started a print campaign, and we were planning to start a radio campaign in the near future. Since we launched, we have been effectively marketing ourselves through online marketing methods, namely social media.
What’s the breakdown of your customer base? (individual orders versus recurring subscriptions)
Initially, we had a lot of individual orders, as customers were trying out the service. However, as their confidence grew, we found more and more recurring orders – very much credited to our Order Scheduling feature on our website. Order Scheduling enables our customers to have their next required dose at their doorstep before their current medication runs out.
When will you extend cash on delivery service to other cities?
We are examining our trial results in Lahore and exploring the possibility of extending this to other cities.
Will you expand your portfolio to homeopathic medicine?
Homeopathic medicines, along with nutraceuticals, ayurvedic, unani, and herbal medicines, were unregulated in Pakistan before last year. These have been subsequently brought under the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), and are governed by the same rules and regulations as pharmaceuticals. We would therefore have no issue with expanding our portfolio to homeopathic medicines. In fact, we have already listed nutraceuticals, unani, and herbal medicines on our website.