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Jul, 2020     

eHealth – Government’s partner in building a healthier society

The eHealth sector has come across as a clear beneficiary of the lockdown, with 1.5x higher baseline in June


1. The eHealth sector has come across as a clear beneficiary of the lockdown, with 1.5x higher baseline in June

eHealth: GMV – Recovery Curve (Indexed to 100)

Jan to 29 June’ 2020 (Jan 2020 = 100

The eHealth market has come across as a clear beneficiary of COVID lockdown. The market GMV saw a 2x+ peak during March (vs Jan), with most consumers resorting to bulk medicine purchase from eHealth channels when the lockdown was announced, before reaching a stable 1.5x higher baseline in June (vs Jan).

Prescription medicines GMV seem to be getting stabilized in recent months, while OTC segment has seen increase in May-June period due to demand for hygiene products like masks, sanitizers, steamers etc. eConsultation continues to run at a lightening pace, while eDiagnostics is yet to recover.

2. eHealth platforms came to the rescue during COVID by providing a safe & quality consumer experience, enabled through effective measures

Key measures by leading eHealth platforms during COVID

During the COVID pandemic, the eHealth platforms deployed multiple measures to provide safe & quality consumer experience. These measures covered partnerships (with local pharmacies, hospitals, digital payment players, eMobility platforms), social initiatives (COVID awareness, free distribution of essential meds, masks etc.), safety training for the staff and vernacular support on platforms to drive effective consumer engagement.

3. The government gave a strong regulatory recognition to the sector and even took steps to adopt the eHealth technology during COVID

Government’s Regulatory Nod & Adoption of eHealth

Led by the impact of eHealth platforms to provide a safe medical experience during the pandemic, the government gave a strong regulatory nod to the sector. MHA declared ePharmacy as an essential service, whereas MoHFW released guidelines on eConsultation to prescribe medicines. Moreover, the government also took steps to adopt the eHealth technology during the COVID pandemic. It launched the Janaushadhi Sugam mobile app for consumers to discover the cheaper generic medicines and local the nearest Janaushadhi pharmacies to purchase the medicines. In addition, the leading government hospitals launched eConsultation service for the consumers.

 

4. As a result in the coming years, eHealth is likely to become government’s key partner in driving social health initiatives in India

Government’s Regulatory Nod & Adoption of eHealth

In addition to being indispensable during the pandemic, eHealth is expected to play a key role in driving the government’s social health initiatives on healthcare access & affordability. This would include enabling Janaushadhi & Amrit pharmacies to provide door-step delivery of cheaper medicines.

In addition, eHealth will be instrumental in enhancing the online outpatient care services provided via internet-enabled common service centres in rural areas. Moreover, Niti Ayog’s vision on building a National Health Stack will be further strengthened with structured data foundation of eHealth platforms.

5. Driven by the same, eHealth sector should be able to reach ~90 Mn households by FY 25 i.e. ~1.6x the pre-COVID estimates

eHealth Household Growth Estimates

Number of households, Mn

Led by eHealth’s potential to make wider social impact in the coming years, the sector is expected to reach 90 Mn households in India by FY 25 i.e. 1.6 times our pre-COVID estimate of 57 Mn households. This would include significant coverage in the Tier 2+ cities (enabled by government partnerships).

Considering the above factors, there is a need for a stronger regulatory support towards eHealth and notification of ePharmacy draft rules will be an important step in that direction.