Depa startup scheme launches Pharmcare
Website directs users to the right drugstore
The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) has introduced the Pharmcare website, enabling users to search for nearby quality drugstores with standby pharmacists to offer treatment.
The platform targets users suffering from 10 basic diseases and looking to buy medicine.
The average person visits a drugstores 6-7 times a year, or some 310 million visits per year nationwide.
Depa president and chief executive Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said Pharmcare is part of the programme that funds qualified startups.
There are 56 startups at the seed and developing levels supported by the Depa.
Pharmcare is free and has a user-friendly interface, Mr Nuttapon said. The platform recommends quality drugstores where standby pharmacists can prescribe the right medicines to patients.
Those who suffer from headaches, colds or fever often go to the nearest drugstore without concern for quality. Many times customers will find no pharmacist on duty and receive advice from shop staff instead.
"Depa is in the process of promoting and supporting startups with technology expertise," Mr Nuttapon said. Each qualified startup will be incubated with support of 1 million baht on average.
Several Depa-funded startups are expected to roll out products and services in 2020, he said.
Pharmcare has a strong business model with growth potential and promising public benefits, Mr Nuttapon said.
Jinnipa Panyawuthikrai, the founder of Pharmcare, said she grew up in a drugstore where her mother served as a pharmacist helping people in the community treat illnesses.
"I had the opportunity to see how a pharmacist helps with primary healthcare," said Ms Jinnipa, who studied biochemistry and management in Britain before working as a business consultant in Thailand.
The website shows the distance from drugstores in kilometres. Clicking on the shop name brings up the names of the pharmacists there.
Pharmcare has been operating for five months with a network of 70 drugstores in Bangkok. The platform has received positive feedback despite no marketing.
Ms Jinnipa said the website needs further development and increased brand awareness to draw more stores into its nationwide network.