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M’sian e-pharma starts a subscription plan to make topping up prescription meds easier

[Written in partnership with Supernewsroom, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]

Last year, we featured Goobat, a healthtech startup under the parent company, Healthestate Sdn Bhd.

Originally looking to start by building a brick-and-mortar pharmacy, Goobat had to pivot online amidst the pandemic. 

Known as Goobat.Care, the e-pharmacy aimed to decentralise the pharmacy industry by providing legitimate, lower prices for branded products and e-consultations with pharmacists, amongst other things.

Now, Goobat is offering subscription services for medication while empowering Malaysians with entrepreneurial skills via Goobat Kawan.

Not your average pharmacy membership

Goobat Kawan is said to offer customers more discounts and rewards that are dependent on the number of package subscriptions their contacts sign up to.

“The Goobat Kawan programme is set to help Malaysians save an approximate RM13 billion from their health and personal care bill,” claimed Asher Looi, CEO and co-founder of Goobat.Care. 

Asher Looi, CEO and co-founder of Goobat Image Credit: Goobat

Admittedly, I couldn’t figure out how the discounts and rewards programme differed from memberships offered by pharmacies like Watsons, Caring, and Health Lane. Addressing this doubt, Asher stated that those who join the Goobat Kawan programme have access to discounts on all of the e-pharmacy’s products. 

To add, they can enjoy free nationwide delivery and therefore lower their overall expenses on medical and healthcare products.

Discounts and rewards are one of the ways the Goobat Kawan programme aims to provide income opportunities to Malaysians. It also allows them to hone entrepreneurship skills by onboarding more customers in Goobat’s medicine subscription programme. 

A task force for healthcare savings

Becoming a Goobat Kawan works like an affiliate programme.

Agents are tasked to find and onboard people who are interested in subscribing to monthly, bi-monthly, or half-year refills for medication, along with other health and personal care products. 

Every item listed on Goobat.Care and its physical pharmacy can be subscribed to with free shipping. Furthermore, if a customer has a specific medication they require, Goobat can make special orders for such situations and deliver them to customers via the subscription service.

The only medication orders the pharmacy doesn’t fulfil are cancer drugs, due to their short dosage. 

A simplified process of onboarding more subscribers to Goobat Kawan

Agents must also ensure that they’ve collected the necessary prescription from subscribers which will be verified by Goobat’s partner doctors. For those who don’t have a prescription, Goobat’s partner doctors will contact them to provide one where necessary.

Because the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, agents aren’t supposed to market or recommend pharmaceutical products to other customers. Instead, the agents are simply systemising a customer’s existing products into a subscription model. 

Asher shared that Goobat’s pharmacists and partner brands will conduct frequent training for their agents to gain more knowledge, and agents will also be provided with a handbook. 

Training on supplements, vitamins, and other products carried by Goobat is carried out from time to time as well.

High-efficacy growth

Goobat was finally able to set up a flagship store in Taman Megah, PJ, after five years of planning, acquiring the necessary licences, and putting together a team, according to Asher. 

Within the 3,000 square feet space, the pharmacy reportedly houses over 900 brands, and 500 vendors covering 20K SKUs, and carries pretty much anything that a regular personal hygiene and pharmacy store would offer. 

The physical pharma has been launched in PJ / Image Credit: Goobat

The last we spoke to Asher, he stated that a Goobat app was in development as it’s a must-have in this era for a tech company. When probed, he shared that a Goobat app is ready, though it’s currently functioning to help the internal team on certain backend operations for now.

However, he also mentioned that a more comprehensive version of the app will be released in a few weeks. It is expected to include a G-Lenx machine learning feature where users can snap a photo of a product, and the system’s database will show details of the product and its price. 

This feature would be helpful to those with limited product knowledge who are browsing in pharmacies.

Full shelves at the retail outlet / Image Credit: Goobat

To further push Goobat’s growth, the healthtech startup is looking to start an ECF campaign on pitchIN

“The aim is to raise RM7.5 million on pitchIN. But we might close the deal at RM3 million as it will be sufficient for us to expand nationwide,” said Asher.

“Our team is confident that the campaign will receive an overwhelming response from savvy investors nationwide who share in our belief to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to everyone.” 

In addition, Goobat plans to roll out a nationwide roadshow to recruit users in rural areas as the company believes that Goobat Kawan can serve them well.

  • You can learn more about Goobat.Care here.
  • You can reach more healthtech content here.

Featured Image Credit: Asher Looi, co-founder of Goobat

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