With India’s digital health market forecasted for a major leap from about $4.5 billion in the current financial year to $25 billion by 2025, Amazon is not the one to miss out. Amazon has ventured into the domain of online pharmacy by launching its very own Amazon Pharmacy, which is currently under a pilot run in Bengaluru.
It has joined the likes of rivals Flipkart and JioMart – Mukesh Ambani’s upstart online grocery service, and other small players. But the competition is indeed tough. There are other e-players or e-pharmacies such as Netmeds, PharmEasy, Medlife and 1mg which seem to have threatened traditional drug stores. Moreover, the government is yet to finalise regulations for online drug sales. But the companies, as per ET, said they comply with all Indian laws even as many trader groups continue to protest against e-pharmacies. Trader group argues that this would lead to the sale of medicines without verification, something which might also be true with offline stores.
Amazon, in a statement, said the company with Amazon Pharmacy would offer both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription-based drugs, basic health devices and traditional Indian herbal medicines. “This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying at home,” the statement said. “Customers in Bangalore, India’s IT hub, will be able to order prescription and OTC medicines and basic health devices from a certified seller.”
Amazon already offers online pharmacy sales in the US and several European countries. The e-commerce company first stepped into this domain in 2018, when it bought a small online pharmacy PillPack. Jeff Bezos’ intention was to set up potential competition for traditional pharmacies run by Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health, Walmart and grocery store chains. And by the looks of it, Amazon is trying to achieve the same in India.