E-Pharmacy Becomes Full Healthcare Provider: FarmalistoBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 09/23/2020 - 10:06
Q: How does Farmalisto help patients to ensure they receive proper treatment follow-up?
JM: We classify each purchase a patient makes. For example, if they get medication for a chronic degenerative disease, we know they will need to repurchase it to continue their treatment. Moreover, we are able to track the doses. If the treatment was supposed to last 25 days, we remind the patient to start ordering a new dose to continue the treatment without disruption.
Farmalisto also has regular clients who purchase different things each time. In those cases, we can also determine their more regular acquisitions and develop algorithms that allow us to recommend certain things that might be of interest to them.
Q: How does Farmalisto take advantage of alliances to grow and best position the company in the e-pharmacy market?
JC: We have strengthened our relationship with manufacturing laboratories and we have established a direct relationship with Big Pharma multinationals like Bayer and Novartis, as well as local actors like Chinoin. We offer laboratories knowledge about patients and information on the digital penetration of the lab’s products, which they want but cannot exactly do because of the general prohibitions on the business. Our added value is the digital promotion we provide for their products, which our algorithms customize. It is almost as though we are directing their e-commerce strategy. By now, we are the only e-commerce channel that can deliver controlled medications to clients.
We have also allied with many startups that can complement our offering. Right now, we are looking for a digital prescription creator to complement our platform. Additionally, we are expanding our delivery services to go beyond medicine delivery. We want to be a complete health provider, which is why we want to expand our services and deliver attention services like physiotherapy, nanotheraphy or speech therapy. Also, incorporating telemedicine services would be a boost to our offering and fits perfectly with the idea of the company.
JM: We are experts on pharmaceutical marketing, with information on around 300,000 patients, which is highly representative and valuable for Big Data analytics and AI, and for increasing the reach of pharmaceutical laboratories.
Q: How are regulations for e-pharmacies changing in Mexico?
JC: COFEPRIS does not differentiate between e-pharmacies and pharmacies. Requirements do not change from one to another, which ensures that e-pharmacies are safe. We have been visited by COFEPRIS and comply with all requirements. Additionally, we are members of Mexico’s Internet Association and the Mexican Association of Online Sales. When we were just starting, we had to work closely with Google and PayPal. These two companies are also allies to the Mexican government in detecting fake websites and monitoring the e-commerce sector. We know that the right certification is key to continue promoting and growing the website, which is why we highlight those certifications on the site.
JM: Farmlalisto has a medicine tracing process that is unique to the industry, which helps us prove and ensure that all the products we sell come from the manufacturing laboratory. This process is based on a code that we put on each product we get from the manufacturer. This allows us to identify each unit that was purchased. This is a way to protect ourselves from fraud, fake returns, piracy or fake accusations regarding our products and sales. Tracing the product allows us to know to whom we sold the product and the number of units we sell, which can also be helpful for pharmaceutical labs.
Q: How does Farmalisto earn its customers’ trust and how important is patient loyalty for your operations?
JC: Loyalty comes from the patient understanding the company’s value proposition. We are offering community and convenience, as we bring the most complete catalog to the market, competitive prices, follow-up on treatments, home delivery and a good digital experience. With our plans for additional services, we expect our user numbers to grow because we will become a complete healthcare delivery platform.
JM: COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation across the whole world. This can be an opportunity for e-pharmacies to consolidate their presence. Farmalisto is ready to bring that service to the client and to make it a satisfactory experience that invites the patient to come back.
Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Farmalisto’s demand and operations?
JC: Demand has grown a great deal from one day to another. We have been pushed to grow very quickly as a result. First, we focused on ensuring the patient’s safety in the delivery process, so we introduced no-contact deliveries and encouraged online payments. Demand for sanitization products grew quickly so we had to react to have enough stock. Additionally, we made sure to share sanitary and safety measures on our platforms to inform patients as much as possible.
JM: We had to hire additional staff because demand was overwhelming us, and we introduced a program that could help us and other companies. We identified healthcare businesses that were about to let their staff go due to the contingency. We allied with some of those companies so that their employees would remain on their payroll while working and getting paid by Farmalisto. The company would not lose its employees, people would not lose their jobs and we could fill that temporary increase in demand. Those employees are receiving full payment and benefits and we are receiving trained and skilled employees to attend to our clients.
Q: What are Farmalisto’s short-term goals in Mexico?
JM: We want to become the most important and complete healthcare platform in Latin America, to become almost like a hospital at home if the patient needs it to be. We are working toward that goal every day but with the clear mindset that the patient’s health is the central and final goal. We have additionally started working with medical professionals to integrate them into the project, while asking for guidelines and feedback because they know best about people’s health.
JC: Adding more services is a near-term priority, as well as accelerating delivery times for the whole country. Normally, we deliver from one day to another, but we would like to provide a same-day service, or even within hours. Most importantly, we are ready to be more widely known. We have learned a great deal from these six years in the market and we plan to launch more media campaigns to improve our position.
Farmalisto is the largest online pharmacy in Latin America. It has offices in Mexico and Colombia and offers medicines and products designed to improve the quality of life of patients