I am Nadir Mumtaz, a Mathematics/Economics Major from Reed College and a businessman heavily involved in the Pakistani healthcare industry. I have been involved in the startup of three successful companies in Pakistan, and serve as the Convener for Standing Committee on Electro-Medical and Scientific Equipment at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce. I am the CEO of Apothecare – the legal entity behind Sehat – which was formed in 2011. Sehat itself was launched in April 2014.
Our team consists of professionals in the Procurement, Supply Chain, IT, Marketing, and Finance departments – I have diligently attempted to replicate a corporate model for Sehat.
What is Sehat?
Sehat.com.pk is an online pharmacy that delivers medicines all over Pakistan, with a variety of payment methods. We also offer customer service through our contact centre (0800-73428). Alongside medicinal sales through our portal, we provide corporate dispensary sales to other institutions, as well as home and corporate vaccination services in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.
Where Did the Idea Come From?
I hail from a family that has earned its stripes in the pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan – the Fazal Din Group. My grandfather laid down the foundation to one of the first operating pharmacies in Pakistan in 1948, on Mall Road in Lahore. Since then, the Fazal Din Group has expanded to pharmacy branches in other cities of Pakistan, a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility (Lahore Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works), and multiple medical equipment agencies.
Being part of a family background heavily involved in the industry, and spending valuable time abroad made me realize not only the importance of sustainable healthcare facilities in Pakistan, but also how technology has made a difference in providing quality healthcare delivery in developed countries. It is on this premise, that we developed a portal for medicinal sales that contains certain features absent not only in ecommerce sites in Pakistan, but in the world as well; such as a Store Credit facility and Order Scheduling.
Why Choose Sehat?
Our organization aims to make a difference by promoting authenticity in the retail pharmacy industry of Pakistan. A recent report suggests that 30% of all medicines traded in the open market in Pakistan are spurious or fake. Our exclusive partnerships with a plethora of different pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country enables us to acquire quality medicines, straight from the source, at a discounted price. That way, online customers can get a bargain when buying medicines from us.
We also want to create overall accountability in the healthcare sector in Pakistan by integrating ourselves with healthcare institutions and providing medicines to accountable entities across the country. Recent regulations by DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan) have specified that only a licensed pharmacy can sell any type of medication; be it prescription, OTC, herbal, unani, nutraceutical, or homeopathic – that gives us an edge over other e-commerce ventures. We have already established a partnership with a reputable MNC in Pakistan in providing home vaccinations in three cities, and have expanded our product line to consumer, household, and beauty products.
How Sehat Can Help
In the next five years, I foresee a huge increase in growth for Sehat. I also predict a few brick and mortar establishments in Lahore, alongside satellite warehouses in different locations to further bring us closer to our goal of last mile delivery services in a few cities of Pakistan. We also plan to integrate with working EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) that are being used by hospitals across the country, and work as a marketing representative for reputable pharmaceutical manufacturers.
We would like the youth in Pakistan to be as digitally vocal as possible in their everyday activities. The world is becoming more and more digital as we speak, yet 2/3 of the planet is still considered digitally illiterate in terms of properly using the Internet for work related purposes. Yes, Facebook and WhatsApp are divine blessings that everyone can use, yet there is much more out there.
Facebook in Pakistan has already seen the emergence of indigenous groups where people can speak out against multiple issues and wrongdoings, be it in the food industry, medical industry, or fashion industry. Sehat can help the youth take care of their aged relatives and their loved ones, through efficient healthcare delivery by a trusted source. We would like them to use Sehat not only for essential medication, but for household and consumer items as well. That is why why we expanded our product line – we realize the great importance of youthful individuals being attracted to a shopping portal with multiple products like ours.
The Secret to Sehat’s Success
My advice to others trying to achieve their dreams, is to never give up and fully believe in your project. Have a hands-on approach to whatever you put your mind to, and fully define a market to push your product towards. Be financially sensible in your decisions, and do not be afraid to approach others who are in the same boat for integration – that, is the beauty of the startup community.