Everything diabetes

In today’s time, technology changes faster than clockwork. Being in tune with trends, diabetes technology has also changed massively over the years. Be it glucometers that require a tiny drop of blood or insulin pumps, pens and really fine syringes that have made our lives easier.

All this diabetes technology has been a boon, of course! Besides changes in the methods of administering insulin, another change is the way we purchase our insulin and diabetic supplies.

Online shopping is the preferred medium of purchase today and with the advent of online pharmacies in the last few years, ordering insulin is just a click away.

While ordering our normal medicines and diabetic supplies (except insulin), online purchase is great and not worrisome, however we couldn’t be so sure if insulin could be delivered to our door step without any spoilage when ordered over an online app.

Rohan and Chhavi decided to put these online pharmacies to test. Rohan ordered insulin from 'Pharmeasy' and 'MedLife' and Chhavi ordered insulin from 'Netmeds' and '1mg'.

Things to be mindful of while ordering online :

1. Storing insulin at the right temperature is very essential and hence it is important that when we order insulin online, it’s delivered abiding to the optimal temperature conditions.

2. In India, insulin can be purchased from any offline pharmacy without any prescription.

3. Unlike other OTC or prescribed medication, insulin isn't as easily available.

Rohan's review :

Pharmeasy

PharmEasy

The app can be easily downloaded from Google PlayStore. I ordered my regular bolus insulin, Novorapid.

  • Pricing & discounts - Novorapid cartridges cost INR 641 from my local pharmacy and I could purchase it for INR 530 on Pharmeasy.
  • Ease of ordering - This app is very easy to use. Navigating from the home screen was quite easy and it has clearly marked option to inform the buyer that the insulin needs to be refrigerated. Unlike the offline pharmacy, to order insulin from Pharmeasy requires an online prescription. In case of the prescription being unavailable, they arrange for a call with their in house doctor who calls to confirm the medication before the order is confirmed.
  • Packaging - The insulin was delivered in an ice-pack ensuring no spoilage during transportation. There was a bill accompanying the package.
  • Availability of insulin - Novorapid and other popular insulins like Humalog, Lispro were also easily available.
  • Availability of diabetic supplies - I only ordered insulin but I checked for the availability of other essential diabetic supplies too like lancets, glucometers, needles etc and these can be ordered easily too.
  • Delivery time - The insulin was delivered the same day!
Screenshot of the order : PharmEasy

Medlife

Medlife
  • Pricing & discounts – Novorapid is available at a 20% discount for INR 466.
  • Ease of ordering – My experience with Pharmeasy set the bar too high and unfortunately in comparison, the Medlife app is more complicated and time consuming when ordering for first time. The user interface is a bit tedious. I was particularly disappointed that the orders could not be repeated from the order history, instead a fresh order must be placed every time. This was time consuming as compared to the other apps where I could just repeat an order by clicking a button. The insulin required a prescription just like Pharmeasy and since I didn’t have it, my order was confirmed only after I received a call from their doctor who spoke about my prescription and he guided me about my A1c etc.
  • Packaging - The delivery wasn’t made as desired. The delivery boy took the medicine out from a very watery bag, which had ice-pack but with a lot of melted ice and water. The temperature change may have spoiled the insulin. I also did not receive any ice pack with the medication.
  • Availability of insulin - Medlife has easy availability of insulin.
  • Availability of diabetic supplies – All other diabetic supplies like lancets, glucometers and other supplies are easily available.
  • Delivery time - The insulin was delivered the next day.
Screenshot of the order : Medlife

Chhavi's review :

NetMeds

Netmeds
  • Pricing & discount - I ordered a Humalog Lispro cartridge and I received a discount of 20% which is double of what I receive normally.
  • Ease of ordering - The app is very easy to use. It offers doctor consultation and lab tests besides the option to order medicines. Navigating the app and placing the order was very simple but there was an influx of information. Like other online pharmacies, insulin cannot be purchased on Netmeds without prescription. A call back from the doctor was arranged back before conforming the order. The doctor called the same day as placing the order and confirmed if my endocrinologist had approved this as my medication. However, they did not ask for any paper work to substantiate it.
  • Packaging – The insulin was delivered to my doorstep and the delivery boy took it out of an insulated box. However no ice box was given to me. If somebody doesn’t have a fridge, this is a point of concern. The package was accompanied by a bill which also mentioned the name of the doctor who confirmed the order.
The package arrived
  • Availability of insulin - Lispro and other popular insulins like Humalog, Novorapid were also easily available. However, I was disappointed to know that the Fiasp cartridge was out of stock.
  • Availability of diabetic supplies - Other diabetic supplies like a wide variety of glucometers, needles etc are easily available.
  • Delivery time - The insulin was delivered the next day.
The invoice is available on the app too and the reorder option makes me happy!

1mg

1 mg
  • Pricing & discount- I have recently started using Fiasp and unfortunately after my initial stock got over, I was unable to find it anywhere in the pharmacies in Delhi. I was beyond thrilled to be able to find it on 1mg and that too at 20% discount!
  • Ease of ordering - The app has a very appealing interface and is easy to use. Like all other online pharmacies, my order was confirmed only after a phone call from the doctor since this required a prescription to be uploaded. Just like Netmeds, I wasn’t asked for any physical proof to substantiate my word. Placing the order was very simple and easy.

I do not like spam messages at all (who does?) and the 1mg app notifications are very distracting as they keep flooding my notifications the whole day, just like the incessant notifications from the BeatO app.

  • Packaging – The insulin was delivered along with the bill in an insulated box but no ice pack was given.
It says ice pack on the packaging, however there was only bubble wrap inside it.
  • Availability of insulin - I was so happy to see that they had Fiasp flex-pens, cartridges and vials easily available. All the other insulins are easily available too.
  • Availability of diabetic supplies - Other diabetic supplies like glucometers, needles etc are easily available.
  • Delivery time - The insulin was delivered the same day within a few hours and I was impressed with the quick service. It is a great option in case insulin needs to be delivered in emergency / same day.
Screenshot of order details : 1mg

Video review :

Final thoughts

Being able to order insulin from the comfort of your home at a better discount and being assured that there would be no spoilage in transit sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Hopefully, not anymore. Online pharmacies are here to save the day!

One last thing...

Four type 1 diabetics are about to attempt a 100km trailwalker to raise awareness for diabetes and fundraise for those in need through Oxfam. Please give generously on the link below and consider how your donation can make a difference in the lives of people in India touched by Oxfam through their goals of gender justice, education for underprivileged children, social inclusion and humanitarian response during disasters and conflicts. Your donation will also help us smash stereotypes that diabetics are limited by their medical condition, where in fact we can do just about anything.

Click here to donate

You've successfully subscribed to Blue Circle Diabetes Foundation Blog
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Great! You've successfully signed up.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.