Big Idea

Selling prescription drugs can be a pain. Doceree offers an easy way out

The pharma-marketing start-up has patented tech to reach the right message to the right doctor 

Doceree co-founders (L-R): Harshit Jain and Daleep Manhas

Bored with the daily grind of being a practising physician in the US, Harshit Jain decided to take a year-long sabbatical 14 years ago. To his parents’ dismay, their child after studying for almost a decade to become a doctor was never to return to his regular job. Instead Jain found his calling in becoming an entrepreneur. In 2007, he founded a start-up named Altruista Health that used data from insurance companies to assess their clients’ risk, and to help them stay healthy. For example, alerts would be sent to diabetics to remind them of their tri-monthly check-ups. These interventions could reduce the frequency of illnesses and hospital admissions for the insured, and thus increase the RoI for insurance companies.

The start-up was doing well when Jain had to return to India for personal reasons. He sold the business to Capricorn Health Advisors in 2015. A year later, he also sold a second venture he had started in India in 2009, in healthcare PR, to A.D.A.M. Ebix. Then, he joined McCann Health as the MD for their India business.

As their innovation and engagement lead, he travelled across countries to grow the New York-headquartered, healthcare-marketing firm’s business. He was getting a ringside view of the working of the top pharma companies of the world. He realised that, while the rest of the world was moving to digital advertising, the pharma companies were not able to. Those companies, who were not allowed to sell directly to customers but only through doctors, were still sending their medical reps to meet doctors, and crowding the consulting room tables with paperweights and clocks bearing the company’s logo. So, Jain and his colleague Daleep Manhas realised they were staring at a golden opportunity.