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Medicines just a click away: Local e-pharmacies come to rescue of people in Kashmir

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Srinagar: Salim, 35, a resident of Baghi Mehtab, was yet to take his father for the last cycle of radiotherapy when the pandemic broke out. He had almost recovered, and doctors were quite optimistic about his progress.

“My father, who suffers from stage II throat cancer, was almost in his recovery stage when COVID happened. Since I am his only son, I have to be around all the time. This made me fearful about buying medicines from the market, as I was sure I would be exposed to the virus. Thankfully, a pharmacy store in our locality started home-delivery of medicines,” Salim said.


Similarly, Asma, 34, a resident of Rambagh, was worried about her severely diabetic mother’s well-being, as the pandemic unfolded.

“Initially, I waited in the car until my turn for the medicines came because I was scared of contracting an infection and getting it transmitted to my mother. In a small set-up of a pharmacy store, it is difficult to ascertain how many people gather. Then, someone in my neighborhood suggested that I buy medicines from local medical stores, which deliver medicines at home on discounted rates,” she said.

Even though Srinagar has gradually unlocked over the past few weeks amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many people, who are co-morbid or have immuno-compromised family members at home are apprehensive of going out to buy medicines from the stores.  Most of them have either switched to an online pharmacy or prefer home-delivered medicines.

The icing on the cake is that it does not require any special app. A customer just places an order on the phone or WhatsApp, which works on low internet too, or simply SMS. This ensures both the customer’s convenience and a hassle way process of ordering.

 Umaid Banday, owner of the e pharmacy store, `Panun Dawa Bazar’ at Court Road said there are many benefits of home delivery of medicines.

“It offers hassle-free customer experience, doorstep availability of medicines, and convenient payment options. Most importantly, it offers safe shopping while lockdowns, curfews & disturbances along with a three-step cross-check for errors like expiry shortage or shrinkage,” he said.

Umaid said the orders for the home-delivery of medicines have increased since the pandemic broke out. On average, the store receives around 25 orders every day.

“We cater to the entire Srinagar city and provide 20 percent discounts on all medicines. Besides, our staff is fully professional, who have proper knowledge of medicines and follow all the COVID safety protocols,” Umaid said.

Shariq Ahmad Bhat, who runs `Al-Hamd’ at Baghimehtab, home delivers medicines from Mochu to Chanapora stop.

“There has been a positive change in the attitude of people related to home-delivery. On average, we receive around eight online orders per day,” he said.

He said the medicine strips or packets properly sanitized with the help of disinfectants before delivery.

“We mostly receive orders through phone calls, WhatsApp, and text messages. Also, we ensure the prescription is valid and has fresh dates before dispensing the medicine,” Shariq said.