Pharmacy retail on speed
Imagine that you can get your medicine delivered in 30 minutes. That is the reality and the norm in China´s largest cities now. Only a few years ago, this was not possible. JD Health officially sold its first pharmaceutical product online in 2013, and since then the business have taken off. With more than 14 drug warehouses and over 300 other warehouses nationwide, JD Health can deliver medicine from over the counter to prescription drugs fast and easy for its users. They launched a “Family Medicine Kit” service which provides families a one-stop health care management service platform offering drug recommendations, health knowledge sharing and pharmaceutical after-sales services. It is linked with JD´s insurance business team and JD Logistics and offers replacement services for expired drugs.
But JD Health also cover B2B, as they aim to build the complete retail ecosystem. For drugstores in China’s rural areas in fourth tier cities, it has long been a struggle to compare medicine prices, incomplete variety of drugs and long procurement times. JD’s marketplace has an extensive range of products, ranging from OTC (over the counter) drugs to medicine for chronic diseases, medical equipment, and nutritional products.
In China, primary care such as family doctors and general practitioners is not commonplace, and people must go to a hospital for serious illnesses or a community clinic for less complicated issues. This creates extremely long lines, waiting times and uncertainty for those who do not live near hospitals. Therefor telemedicine is high on the national agenda, and the central government has over the past many years launched several key policy documents like “Healthy China 2030” outlining the priorities for commercial players to tap into. JD Health was the first company to offer both retail pharmacy and online health care services, and in 2020 JD Health launched a family-doctor service. It is an annual subscription service, that can cover a family unit of up to eight people, who can get quality care, monitor health conditions of family members afar and access online and offline consultations. Online consultations were on the rise before Covid-19, but the pandemic made the number of users explode, and surveys show a significant increase in citizens willing to accept online consultations for basic issues as well as long term health conditions.
An expanding ecosystem
The ambition for JD Health is to build a closed loop ecosystem, making it possible for patients to have easier access to better health care, no matter their geographical location. As the retail pharmacy business is growing and profitable, it is less so in general with online services. However, experts and investors in the area expect to see this become profitable in 5-10 years. The overall strategy of the closed loop system is also to drive traffic from patients on the online pharmacy platform to the health management services, and in turn drive traffic back to the retail pharmacy business. JD Health has a clear advantage in its extensive logistics network and advanced cold chain supply chain capabilities as well as its services in finance and insurance.