When MyPharma2Go first launched a few years ago, its goal was to make it easier for Brazilians to buy US-made dietary supplements and OTC products by distributing these products to Brazilian healthcare practitioners.
At the time, the easiest and cheapest way to legally bring US supplements into Brazil was through healthcare practitioners, because importation was only allowed if end users have a prescription. MyPharma2Go focused on stocking and distributing healthcare practitioner-channel supplement brands first, such as Thorne Research and Celebrate.
But since July 2018, several products labeled as supplements in the US may be imported to Brazil without a prescription, an update that came after 10 years consideration at ANVISA, Brazil’s health authority, which until that time did not have a specific set of laws regulating dietary supplements as its own category. (More information about this change, in Portuguese, can be found HERE).
The update paved a way for MyPharma2Go to open its dedicated direct-to-consumer online supplements shop called MundiHealth, which will carry products that are no longer required to be registered in Brazil to be imported without a prescription, MyPharma2Go co-founder and CEO André Di Donato told us.
“Whey, BCAA, creatine and other supplements in the sports arena can be imported directly by the consumer but still under some customs rules, such as amount of bottles configured for personal use and value under US$ 3,000.00,” he said.
“We are closely monitoring ANVISA’s updates to be always on track of what can be included at MundiHealth’s portfolio.”
Building an ecommerce empire for healthcare
In the mindset of many Brazilian consumers, dietary supplements belong to the same world as OTC pharmaceutical products. The closer a supplement product’s branding or reputation is to pharmaceuticals, the more trusted they tend to be, Di Donato told us in an interview last year.
This makes sense, considering that the top selling supplement products in Brazil come from pharma giants like Pfizer, Bayer, and Sanofi, according to Euromonitor International, a market research firm.
In MyPharma2Go’s growth trajectory and business strategy, supplements and OTC drugs go hand-in-hand. In the last quarter, it added the supplement brands Designs for Health, QQL Labs, Innovix, Omegavia, and Kovoh, while Nyloxin and Lomaira were additions in the OTC arena.
They recently opened a new warehouse in Miami, which Di Donato said is registered with the FDA and has received a license from the DEA to distribute and export drugs.
A plug-in for international brands to sell in Brazil
Beyond its own online stores, the company recently forayed into the transaction segment with a platform called EasyMundi. It is an entirely separate endeavor within the business but is closely linked to MyPharma2Go’s strategy to become an ecommerce empire in the healthcare space.
“We have entered in an exclusive agreement with SinerlogUSA, a logistic company that runs the Compra Fora program with the Brazilian Post Services (Correios),” Di Donato said.
This makes his company the only one in the healthcare sector “allowed to be 100% integrated with Compra Fora, providing an option for the customer to receive their products by Correios in a cheaper and full tracking way and without taxes under $50,00 purchases.”
At 15 to 20 business days, shipping time using Compra Fora will be slower than MyPharma2Go’s proprietary courier service that ships in 7-10 business days, but it will be significantly cheaper for buyers and allows them to buy using installments or national payment programs like boleto, a method regulated by the Central Bank of Brazil launched in 1993 that accounts for around 25% of all online payment transactions in Brazil, according to PagBrasil, a payment processing company.
In addition, through the partnership, MyPharma2Go developed a plug-in for EasyMundi, which will allow international OTC and supplement brands to provide Brazilian buyers the option to pay using Brazil’s national payment methods—like how some companies outside of China now support payment using WeChat to allow easier commerce with Chinese shoppers.
“EasyMundi will attend not only to the health market, but will be a plug-in to allow any e-commerce in the world to easily ship to Brazil,” Di Donato said.