Ad Land’s Young Guns: Arjun Deshpande, Founder & CEO, Generic Aadhaar

Started when its founder was 16 years old, Generic Aadhar today strives to provide medicines to 130 crore people of India. Arjun Deshpande founded Generic Aadhaar in 2018 and has grown it to be a one-stop solution for healthcare needs. The company delivers high-quality medicines at prices that are up to 80% less than that of branded counterparts to end-users directly, eliminating middle-chain costs.

In conversation with Adgully, Arjun Deshpande, Founder & CEO, Generic Aadhaar, shares his perspective on a long term career in Healthcare, his contribution towards noble causes, the inspiration behind the idea of starting up his business venture, and more.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

I believe that the ‘E’ in ‘Idea’ stands for execution. Whenever I see a problem, I immediately come up with a solution, and more importantly, I execute that idea on time to become a reality. If we don’t execute that solution on time, then we are losing a big opportunity to tackle that situation and bring a change.

How did you start this organisation?

As I believe, don't start a business for the sake of doing something, but to make an impactful change in society. I always say, “Sstart a start-up, build an organisation”.

At the age of 16, I saw a burning problem. And that made me realise that even though our country is a hub of manufacturers and suppliers of medicines, our own people have to spend a lot of money on essential medicines. I didn’t let age come in the way of my innovative idea.

I believe medicines are not a luxury, but a basic necessity. It all started when I encountered an old man at a medical store, who was requesting the owner to let him pay the bill later as the medicines were quite expensive. However, the owner was not ready to listen to his plea. When I asked the elderly man about his problem, he told me about his wife who was suffering from cancer and that his son, an auto driver, was the sole bread earner. He added that they were finding it difficult to afford the costly medicines for his wife’s treatment and hence, he was feeling helpless and guilty.

This made me realise how the common man was burdened with paying for basic necessities like medicines, and I was determined to bring in a new era to the pharma sector, where the common man won’t feel helpless when it came to being able to afford such basic necessities. I saw the problem and came up with an idea to solve it. Initially, I carried out deep research in the pharma sector, after which it was time for strong execution. I knew that success would come not immediately, but I was confident about my venture’s success eventually.

Generic Aadhaar has come forward to curb the illicit trade in life-saving drugs and provide low-cost drugs to the people. With Generic Aadhaar, we have brought about a revolution in this field and have changed the dimensions of the pharma world. Generic Aadhaar has disrupted the conventional pharma industry and is determined to empower single-store owners and pass on the benefits to the end customer.

As our people are struggling with a costly healthcare system in India, it is a clear motto of Generic Aadhaar to support the common man’s monthly medicine budget by providing life-saving high-quality medicines at very affordable prices. Generic Aadhaar delivers high-quality medicine at up to 80% discount from manufacturers to end-users directly, eliminating middle-chain costs such as marketing, distribution, stocking, and supply chain through a unique pharmacy-aggregator business model.

We are bringing together all small mom-and-pop medical stores, which roughly number more than 10 lakh and are losing their business due to tough competition, under one roof of our brand to help them and to support their business growth with huge profits. We are aggregating the stand-alone pharmacies to compete with big retail medical malls and online pharmacies.

I believe that young entrepreneurs can change the Indian economy, hence we are giving them opportunities to start their own businesses. We are not climbing alone, but are holding the hands of these youngsters and directing them towards a unified vision.

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

I feel that productivity keeps our success on autopilot mode. It doesn’t come overnight, but with thoughtful and deliberate use of time and energy regularly. These are the things that I follow for a better outcome every day:

  1. Tackle something challenging when on high energy.
  2. Stay Updated.
  3. Connect with today’s goals.
  4. Meditate
  5. Prepare for tomorrow with pre-planning.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?

The pharma industry has seen a quick rise in the past years as the demand and needs increase. Rapid digitisation and advanced research in the field have opened the doors for many ways of treatment for mankind.

In the last 2 years, the pharmaceutical industry became integral to the global response to the Covid pandemic. They were the responsible sector and warriors for the whole world.

It is working on improving the entire spectrum of healthcare. Not just people from this field’s background, but from various sectors are interested in entering this business as it is an evergreen business with a good profit margin.

In the coming years, Indian generic medicines will become common and will be in demand in many parts of the world. As they are very affordable and available easily, this is going to be a major focus field. The pharmaceutical industry has also increased the number of joint ventures as well as investments.

Generic Aadhaar has been providing jobs to thousands of people and supporting them in starting their own businesses by giving them medical franchises.

The future of pharma is digital. Technological innovation is the backbone of the growing pharma industry. 

What does it take to succeed in a career?

Work towards your vision continuously and you will get success – not immediately, but definitely. Out-of-the-box ideas always work in terms of achieving success. The first step in starting an impactful venture is to find a burning problem. Come up with an effective solution-based idea that will be beneficial and change the lives of millions. Money and success are by-products.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

The pharmaceutical industry has been growing very rapidly in India for the past decade. It is an evergreen ongoing business and is booming to higher levels.

It is said that pharmacists are second doctors. They are the most trusted and responsible professionals and are the bright future of our country. With the ever-evolving nature of the pharmaceutical industry, it is one of the important focuses for many of those in pursuit of the most desirable career. It has numerous opportunities for growth and development.

This field does not just give a chance to make a great career, but also gives a chance to work for a noble cause. It lets you change people's lives for the better. Many factors in this sector, such as Research, development, manufacture, and marketing of medicines, give you a chance to improve people’s lives. This industry has a relatively high status and is home to multiple scales of jobs.

Where do you see your organisation in five years’ time?

Generic Aadhaar has its presence in every state in India. We have created micro-entrepreneurs in every corner of our country, including metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc., as well as remote villages like Birbhum, Kusheshwar Asthan, Chidambaram, Mhow, etc. We are expanding from Jammu to Kanyakumari and from Kutch to Arunachal Pradesh. Generic Aadhaar has its franchise in 150+ cities with a portfolio of 1,000+ products. Generic Aadhaar has created direct and indirect employment for around 8,000 people.

It will mark its presence in 1,000+ cities in the next five years. In the next three years, Generic Aadhaar will make its promising presence across India by onboarding 15,000 stores and creating the same number of micro-entrepreneurs.

Generic Aadhaar’s demand has reached even neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, as well as the UAE, etc. as they are approaching us to open a Generic Aadhaar franchise in their countries.

Generic Aadhaar is running fast towards its goal of opening a store in every nook and corner and providing medicines at a reasonable price to 130 crore Indians, and it will soon spread worldwide.


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