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Interview with Keval, pharmacist in bangalore

Keval is an independent pharmacist in Bangalore, though he is on the property of a clinic. He studied at the Karnataka Primary Medical College and has 3 years of experience as a pharmacist, first in a hospital and now for the last 3 months on his own.

He has lots of different clients from the area, they speak about 5 to 6 different languages, of which he speaks four. As it is cheap to live there, income of patients widely differs. He has about 50 customers a day, of which 30 are without a prescription and 7-8 he refers to the doctor.

He keeps the stock levels of the medicine in his head, orders new ones every morning and receives them the same day. He checks the batch numbers and expiry date when they come in and then does a routine check every 3 months. If a customer asks for a medicine 3 times he’ll order them permanently, to keep his customers loyal.

“Lots of people walk past and ask you directly for medicine without prescription. Whatever you give they’ll take. I tell them to consult the doctor [next door]."

Patients will send him 'prescriptions' over the phone, he will only give antibiotics if they have been prescribed before.

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Smart Prescriptions
"Lots of people are doing these prescription by text, we need the KMC number and the doctors seal, there are fake prescriptions around."

He stamps every prescription when the medicine have been issued, so he would need a way of doing that too on the Smart Prescriptions.

He also says he's losing business to online pharmacies, people don’t come there anymore since they don’t need to come. He thinks these businesses are dodgy, since they sell all sorts of drugs including antibiotics. He also had the point of view that branded drugs are more reliable.

“Drugs that are 50 Rs from a good company are working. Generics, we don’t have and the doctor wont prescribe them. They don’t work as fast.”

He liked the reminders part of the app, as he knows lots of patients are forgetting to take their medicine.

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“People need to present to the doctor, we can’t trust this thing, we can’t take this thing. They need to go to the doctor here, they need to know what types of medicine that we have”

He talked about how it would be difficult for him to dispense medicines from an online doctor since they wouldn't know what he had in stock - there might be a lot of confusion or mismatches between what he has and what was prescribed (his doctor on site only prescribes what he can dispense). Even when the doctor next door is not actually there, he can make a quick appointment for them for the same day or the next. Patients don't mind coming back to see an actual doctor face to face. He wasn't open to this concept.

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