Research Document - Interviews with Pharmacists Document Transcript
To find scope for design intervention for chemists, and synthesise suitable
Targeted segment: Small and medium scale chemists operating in 2 tire and 3 tire
Observation and Interviews were conducted at several medical stores.
1. Archana Medicals
Don’t use computer, though they have one
All records are maintained manually and filed systematically.
Stock and availability also determined mentally. Owner says he is the computer.
Expiry is checked for every month- manually. They have over 4000 medicines
stocked in their shelves arranged alphabetically.
They have no problem in getting medicines- the distributer delivers immediately
to them in case of any emergency.
Regarding info about banned medicines - They get alerts from their association- in
the form of circulars
- Storage of the medicines: some medicines need to be stored in dark place,
some need to be refrigerated etc. although in most cases it is mentioned with
medicine itself, there is confusion regarding it.
- Price fluctuation of medicines. Causes discrepancies if old price has been
entered into the system and they have to sell it at new price.
- Difficult to understand doc’s handwriting. They don’t take risk, ask the
patient to go to med stores near the doc’s place.
Future plan: few chair for patients to sit - Counselling area in med shop .
Use mediSoft with internet connection.
2. Radhi Medicals
They don’t get the medicines from distributors as soon as they ask for it, there’s
usually a 2 days delay.
Confusion over the quantity of medicine brought in by the dealers when they make
orders over the phone. Usually they bring wrong quantity and make second trips to
deliver the right qt.
Very close to hospital.
3. Jayem Medical
Hospital has pharmacy and so all the medicines are purchased within the hospital
itself. This affects their business.
They also said the prescriptions are not given to the patient- but are directly
transferred online to the pharmacy- the patient does not come to know what drug
he has been prescribed * has to be verified if this is true. If the medicines are not
available , they give substitutes for a few days. For the remaining days they come
to outside stores and ask for the substituted medicine.
Neethi stores sell medicines at very low rates- as they buy in very large quantitiesthis affects their business.
They suggested that if prices of medicines were on the chemical composition basis
and not on the brand, then it would be better to regulate prices.
40-50 ppl daily
4. Rangalakshmi – medical store:
7- 9.00 pm peak hour
Conusion: New Products being launched
Software- initially remedi now c square.
They have 2000 medicines worth 3,00,000
Weekly once 5-6 distributers come
20 – 30% loss on expiry
Attached to hospital.
5. Shobha Pharmacy:
Have very less cosmetic items
7.00am to 11pm.
8-12 lakhs rs, 2000 medicines
Accounts every month- system gives report only dialy basis monthly calculation
Distributers come to pharmacy.
6. Feria Medicals: (small scale independent medical store)
Owner: Priya (started Feria Medical 6 yrs ago)
Technology exposure: Minimum computer knowledge- just enough to operate
the medi-software. Does not have internet connection. Uses base model Nokia
phone and is aware of Nokia Ovi suite).
Owns the medical store- that stocks 7,00,000 worth medicines.
Initially right after finishing D.Pharm she assisted at Govt hospitals. After studying
so much in detail about drugs their composition and their effects she felt her work
was just like any other shop keeper- take from the shelf the item that the customer
wants and giving it to them- studying so much about medicine was quiet pointless.
She found her jog very menial.
Later when she started a shop on her own, she’s very satisfied that she can run a
proper business and her education is paying off. Has a very positive attitude
towards her profession and believes there aren’t any problems faced by them if
they do things systematically. She enjoys her work!
She is at her shop from 9.00am to 9.30pm (goes home for lunch for an hour).
Has 2 helpers- mainly for sorting medicines that have been purchased, and to keep
the store tidy. They also help in giving medicines to the customers during busy
Shelving methods that are currently in used in pharma shops:
Pharmacological- (all cancer medicines together, all heart meds together..
The shelving method used in Feria medicals is Alphabetical because:
It is easier to retrieve medicines by their names
Her staff members can also find the medicine by the name directly- they
don’t have to have knowledge of effects and chemical composition which
will be required if she sorts it the pharmacological way. It is easier while
sorting medicines and placing them in the shelf.
Since hers is not big store she does not have space to dedicate a full
shelf/box for each company
Alphabetically arranged in boxes:
As each sale is made, it is recorded in her register, which is later on manually
entered into the computer to update stock. Only when customer wants bill, it is
generated from the computer.
Sales Rep from distributor comes and sees the register and notes down the drugs
that he can provide. He goes back to the distributor and gets the medicine and
returns to the medical store with it. He also brings the invoice.
Each day there may be around 6-7 invoices from different distributors which are
stapled together. Since she does not have internet and compatible software for all
the dealers she manually enters the stock.
The invoices are filed and stored. They have piled up files since 4 years and storing
and maintaining it is a big problem for them- they don’t know how long they are
expected to keep them.
View on Computer/ pharma software:
- Very beneficial:
o tells them the quantity of stock in their racks
o Helps when they have to pay taxes and VAT
o Helps them record purchase and sale
o Since she has always been poor in mathematics, the calculations made
by software helps her a lot and makes her feel things are under control
o If she uses the same software as the dealer, and has internet
connection, she need not manually enter the purchases – the dealer
will send a soft copy of the bill, which will automatically update her
- Not so beneficial :
o Manually entering data is a little time consuming
o There are almost 6 to 7 softwares used by different dealers – she
cannot buy or use that many software simultaneously so she cannot
benefit from it- she has to type in manually.
o 3yrs ago the cost of the software she uses was 25,000. every yr she has
to pay 2,000 for updates
o The software does not return required result:
When queried for quantity of a particular drug, the software
does not show the exact results: since a drug of same name of
but different batch no and expiry date is treated as a different
Dealing with expiry: When she wants to find the drugs that
have reached expiry, she queries for it in the software- the
software returns results in alphabetic order of all the medicinesshe has stocked medicines in her shelves as Syrups and Tablets –
which are then sorted in alphabetical order. Since the software
does not differentiate between syrups and tablets it is not very
• Because of this she manually checks each and every
medicine in her shelves for Expiry every 3 months when
they do cleaning.
Govt/ institutions do research and announce that certain drugs/ drugs
containing a certain Chemical must be banned- these notifications are made in
news papers only. It is not possible for the chemist to look out for these
notifications in the newspapers everyday- there is a good possibility that they miss
these notifications- the consequence of which is that the if the Drug inspector (who
can turn up any time) finds the banned drugs in the shelves they might even have
to close down their shop.
Currently the chemists association send the chemist an sms whenever any
notifications come in the news papers.
(this could be a possible area for design intervention)
Dealing with combination drugs, when certain components have been banned:
In this case the chemist has to recollect from his memory which all
combination drugs (made of more than one component) contain that particular
component- (the software does not have the capability to do this.) This may lead to
a situation where he has to search most of his medicines to ensure that particular
chemical component is not stocked. It is also possible that his search may not be
perfect and hence the banned drugs may still remain in his shelves
New Drugs Names/ new companies :
Lot of new companies have come in to the
pharma market and they manufacture
medicines under new names or entirely new
medicines. The chemists are not aware of
these until they have loose quiet a number of
customers who come asking for it. Generally
the chemists have a Directory that gives a
list of all the drugs(as in picture).
The disadvantage is that:
- they have to keep buying the book often
- they book does not classify which are the Latest drugs and which are the
ones that are already there for a while
(Opportunity area for us)
In their 3 yrs of d.pharm they have been taught medicines by their generic names.
Different manufacters make the same med in diff names and also doctors prescribe
medicine by the company names- hence the chemist have a lot of relearning to do
and have to constantly map the generic name that they have learnt to the new
names by which they are known these days.
As much as possible they try to get the medicine for the customer within one
day if they don’t have that particular medicine. They would ask the customer to
come by in the evening or the next day, by then they go to the dealer and get the
For select few people only they give medicines at home- because they don’t have
enough staff for that kind of service and are running only small scale.
Data entry/ keeping stock updated: should be automated
Alerts about banned drugs
Updates on what’s new and in demand
Summary of Possible Opportunity areas for design intervention for chemists:
From our research it emerged that it is not just the Chemist who would
need any solution, but mainly it is the patient who needs it
Storage and Retrival of prescription made easy
Information / Instructions vizuallly more effective
Reduce waiting time at the store
Mechanism for patient to know where/which shop his medicines will be
Possible Opportunity areas for design intervention for Patient/Customer: