Spurt in online medicine sale hits retailers hard

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Spurt in online medicine sale hits retailers hard


Medicine business has become unviable after the Corona pandemic and rise in on-line sale of drugs at higher discounts. 
The introduction of generic medicines earlier by the UPA Government had hit the business of the branded medicines affecting the businessmen at large as people were provided low cost medicines. However, with doctors continuing to prescribe branded medicines, somehow the medicine retailers could manage the situation.
Yet again, another setback came in the medicine business when the State Government started supplying a few branded medicines to Government medical stores under the Niramaya Yojana. Though free medicines in Government hospitals are yet to win the faith of the common people, still it affected the business of the druggists. Besides, black marketing of the branded medicines grew as some venal hospital authorities were in league with some dishonest druggists.
However, all the same, most medicine retail counters at present are passing through a bad time, thanks to online availability of medicines at a 20 percent discount. Besides, in a few cities, Reliance also has started selling medicines at a twenty percent discount. Because of such  opportunities, customers mostly prefer online procurement of medicines to medicine retailers and even those who are going to the retail shops are demanding higher discounts.
A medicine retailer at Dhenkanal, when asked said, he purchases medicine from a registered whole seller maximum at 18-22% percent of margin and hence, it is impossible for him to give 20 % discounts over the MRP.
As there are no jobs, most of the unemployed youths have started medicine stores availing licence from the Drug Inspectors following Government norms. However, a survey in Dhenkanal showed only 5% of medicine stores are doing good business. Others could hardly have a monthly turnover of Rs 1lakh, while a majority could not touch even the Rs 50,000-mark. A medicine retailer has to bear the permanent expenses of house rent and salary to a pharmacist, apart from incurring establishment costs.
Besides, interest on bank loans is an added burden. Consequently, most of the medicine store owners could not get a profit of even Rs 5,000 in a month as the maintenance cost of the medicine store is high.
“The medicine stores cannot survive if the phenomenon of online sale and high discounts to customers continues,” said a retailer here. 

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