After making waves in the FMCG industry, Baba Ramdev is set to enter the digital healthcare space by launching an online consultation forum, Chikitsalaya. Patanjali, Ramdev's Haridwar-based company, would provide ayurvedic medicines as well as consultations online, the Times of India reported, quoting its sources.
Ramdev had recently hinted at venturing into the online space and exporting Patanjali products to 12 countries. The yoga guru had reportedly said last month that the company was getting five crore internet searches every month.
Patanjali's sales in the financial year 2015-2016 rose 150 percent to worth Rs. 5,000 crore and the company is eyeing Rs. 10,000 crore this fiscal. The revenue target, if achieved, will put Ramdev's Patanjali ahead of FMCG companies such as Nestle, Colgate and P&G in India.
Meanwhile, industry stakeholders have said that if Ramdev starts his online health venture, it would scale up his businesses rapidly. "A company that manufactures its own drugs and sets up a digital consultation platform subsequently will have a multi-fold impact on its business," Saurabh Arora, the founder & CEO of Lybrate, an online doctor consultation company, was quoted as saying by the TOI.
Currently, there are very few players, such as Practo and Lybrate, in the digital healthcare space that mainly deal with the allopathic sector. According to experts, Baba Ramdev's entry into the online healthcare market would provide impetus to the sector dealing with the online sale of natural medicines.
"Absence of doctors and pharmacies is the main problem faced by traditional medicine practices such as ayurveda in the country. If Ramdev manages to launch an online consultation platform, he will be one of the forerunners in the business," Punit Kapoor, the director of online pharmacy BigChemist, was quoted by the daily as saying. Kapoor further said that BigChemist is getting an increasing number of queries related to natural medicines every month.
Ramdev's FMCG venture manufactures and sells homecare, beauty products, cosmetics, wellness and health drinks, and food products. Patanjali is also looking to expand operations by opening research and development divisions across five states in India.