Former iGate CEO Phaneesh Murthy has launched his new health exchange startup, Zigy.com. It was reported in April that such an initiative was in the works, and was expected to go live within a year. The company had said then that it would also launch fulfillment centres across the country for faster delivery.
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. The platform also claims to provide a HealthVault, where users can store all their health related information. This information can later be retrieved by doctors on patient authorization.
However, as of now the website only lets users view certain healthcare products, like skin lotions and moisturizers and even among these, we couldn’t find a single product that could be added to the cart or purchased. The medicine section notes ‘coming soon’, possibly because the DCGI is still formulating a framework for online sales of medicines through e-commerce channels. Interestingly, the website does provide a link to ‘Ziggy HealthVault’ which only prompts the user to login, with no indication on how to sign up.
After digging around for a while, we found a statement by the company replying to a review on its Android app claiming the ‘HealthVault’ is available only for registered users, and users are registered automatically on making a purchase. However, at least on the website, making a purchase doesn’t seem to be possible, so its not clear how the system works, if it works at all. Additionally, we feel the requirement to access the vault should be clearly mentioned on the website rather than requiring users to dig around in review threads on Google Play.
As of now, Zigy claims to be available in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. The company claims it will include allopathic, ayurvedic and homeopathic medicine on the marketplace and plans to extend its operation to 50 cities in the next 18 months.
– Delhi-based HealthKartPlus.com already offers a similar service, however it actually delivers medicines in Delhi NCR and Chandigarh. It had expanded to Bangalore in November 2013, but now seems to have stopped deliveries in the city. HealthKart also operates offline stores.
– There are other medicine e-stores as well, like MediDart.com and BuyDrug.in. Snapdeal also has a Pharmacy products section, though it only offers very basic over-the-counter medicine and healthcare products which is honestly more than what Zigy currently offers.
– PM Health & Life Care’s other plan, to allow patients to store medical records and provide doctors access to it, is also not new. Hyderabad-based healthcare company eVaidya offers paid plans for health record storage and phone, video conferencing, chat and mobile consultation, besides doctor appointment bookings.
– Mumbai-based MediAngels.com also allows patients to upload details of past medical consultations, including prescriptions, reports, CT scans, etc. up to a maximum of 15 MB as attachments. They have the option to buy more space if they want to attach more documents. Then there is Doctors Time, which also offers a similar service. It provides 10 MB of space to save medical records.
Crackdown on online pharmacies in India
It’s worth noting that in May the Maharashtra’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) filed an FIR against Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl and the company’s directors for selling prescription drugs on the e-commerce. Snapdeal was reportedly selling sildenafil citrate tablets (Viagra), that only urologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists and dermatologists can prescribe. In addition the marketplace was also selling OTC emergency contraceptives. Currently, the company has removed all listings of products even remotely related to health & medicines. See here, here, here andhere.
In the same month the Gujarat FDA also raided Prowisor Pharma, a Surat-based online pharmacy that was reportedly selling drugs worth Rs.7 lakh online.