Mario Orozco
Co-Founder and CEO
iSana
/
View from the Top

iSana Broadens Access to Medicines with Technology

By Antonio Gozain | Wed, 03/16/2022 - 13:40

Q: How does iSana guarantee its medicine distribution amid the shortage crisis in Mexico?

A: iSana was born just before the pandemic hit and began operations with an obsession on helping our customers. We look for everything clients need and offer the best possible price. iSana offers the best distribution guarantee possible thanks to our network of providers, however there are still things we cannot control. We leverage all physical and digital stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, wholesalers and national and regional distributors of general and specialized products. Over time, we have built an entire network that allows us to offer the highest possible guarantee to supply the desired medicines with the lowest possible price.

Q: What does the medicine journey look like from the moment customers place an order until they receive it?

A: iSana offers omnichannel services since the age of its clients ranges from 18 to 90 years old. The journey begins when customers send us their prescription or medication request through WhatsApp, Inbox, our mobile app, email or even a phone call. iSana’s internal tool uses all the data we have from pharmacies, supermarkets and our own distributors to deliver a quote to clients within minutes. The quote offers two prices: immediate and next-day (scheduled) delivery. Most clients end up choosing the next-day (scheduled) delivery option due to the economic incentive. Customers confirm the quote, their address and approximate delivery time and we deliver their medicines. They can pay through their computers, smartphones or on delivery, both in cash or with a credit or debit card.

Q: How do prices vary according to the chosen delivery time?

A: When clients choose immediate delivery, we go to the least expensive pharmacy or supermarket to buy the medicine and sell it at a small profit, raising iSana’s price to the average of all other pharmacies. In Mexico, there are large price differences between pharmacies, which have 30-40 percent margins.

On the other hand, next-day or scheduled delivery allows us to receive medicines directly from our distributors. In this case, iSana does the sorting, packaging and delivery. The scheduled delivery usually helps us offer better prices than pharmacies.

Q: Older people are more likely to buy medicines on a more recurring basis than younger people. What challenges does iSana face considering the digital nature of its service?

A: While the pandemic has shifted the way younger people take care of their health, seniors are usually the most recurring clients. Therefore, we must provide them with the communication facilities to contact us. If we were 100 percent digital, they would not reach us.

iSana has alliances with clinics, associations and event organizers to participate in local strategies, such as neighborhood groups. We also participate in mass digital and traditional marketing campaigns on television and radio.

Q: iSana operates in Leon and Guadalajara through its own dealers. What logistics strategies could boost the company’s growth in these cities?

A: iSana must be prepared for certain volumes of immediate and planned services. We have had discussions with several third-party logistics companies in both Leon and Guadalajara. Logistics are challenging; it is a different, specialized operation but the best option in terms of cost and efficiency.

We partner with logistics companies to collaborate and cover expenses and specific routes. Logistics is an important area of opportunity. We will continue working on it to grow within Leon and Guadalajara and to expand to other states.

Q: What role could e-prescriptions play within iSana’s sales?

A: We adhere to all current laws and regulations regarding physical and digital prescriptions. For controlled medications, we ask for a picture of the prescription and then our dealer verifies it in-person during the delivery, limiting our ability to sell these drugs to Guadalajara and Leon. However, e-prescriptions have more security elements and eventually will benefit all actors involved, starting with patients.

Q: What are iSana’s top priorities for 2022?

A: iSana is focusing its efforts on improving its service and operations through technology. We are constantly developing our technology to reduce the quotation period and improve our loyalty programs. A large percentage of our customers use our electronic wallet. iSana is also launching a new benefits program, which will be important for our clients. We are always looking to offer them the best products and services.

Regarding operations, iSana is implementing a strategy to integrate the value chain at a national level to offer our service across the entire country. Nowadays, clients expect to have access to a service everywhere. We also connect with other players of the industry and invite them to modernize their processes. Technology must be used to improve our service and grow our coverage.

 

iSana is an online platform that provides medicines through home delivery. The company, which offers a 97-percent availability guarantee for its over 25,000 products, compares drug prices among distributors and retailers to offer the most competitive prices and an API to integrate this medicine delivery service with health services providers.

Photo by:   iSana
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst