It was just a couple of days back when Amazon Pharmacy announced its pilot run in Bangalore. Trying not to step on Amazon’s heels, but ready to dominate or claim a piece of the e-pharmacy market, Reliance Industries has acquired a majority equity stake in Netmeds (Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd) for Rs 620 crore. Reliance Retail now has 60% stake in Netmeds and 100% direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries, including Tresara Health Private Limited, Netmeds Market Place Limited, and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt. Limited
Netmeds is an online portal that delivers to more than 20,000 pin codes across India. It serves over 5.7 million customers in more than 670 cities. The portal sells over 70,000 prescription drugs for chronic and recurring ailments apart from lifestyle drugs and over-the-counter products for wellness, health and personal care.
Isha Ambani, Reliance Retain Ventures (RRVL) Director, said the deal broadens Reliance Retail’s digital commerce proposition to fulfil the essential daily needs of consumers. She said the investment is aligned with their commitment to providing digital access for everyone in India. “The addition of Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide good quality and affordable health care products and services, and also broadens its digital commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers.” Pradeep Dadha, Netmeds Founder and CEO, stressed leveraging the combined strength of the group’s digital, retail and tech platforms for offering more value to consumers through a better omnichannel experience.
The e-pharmacy market in India is crowding up as more startups are venturing into this domain. As per reports, there are more than 50 e-pharmacy startups in the country. Recently, FICCI, in its whitepaper, stated that the sector witnessed 2.5X growth to about 8.8 million households during the pandemic period. With this, the sector is expected to grow about 1.4X from its pre-COVID-19 level and cater to about 70 million homes by FY25.