E-commerce giant, Amazon has ventured in the online medicine space in India with the launch of ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ in Bengaluru. The service is likely to be extended to the other cities.
Apart from the non-prescription, traditional Ayurvedic/Unani medicines that were available on the platform under Amazon healthstore category, the e-tailer will now sell prescription medicines.
“As a part of our commitment to fulfill the needs of customers, we are launching Amazon Pharmacy in Bangalore allowing customers to order prescription based medication in addition to over-the-counter medicines, basic health devices and Ayurveda medication from certified sellers. This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,” Amazon India said in response to an emailed query.
Amazon Pharmacy is already operational in several countries including US, UK and Canada. In US, Amazon acquired an e-pharma startup, 'PillPack,' three yaers ago, to gain access to the growing market. In India, the e-pharma market has witnessed further consolidation with the mergers and acquisitions in the space.
The online pharmacy sector which is poised to reach $2.7 billion by 2023 according to an EY report is currently dominated by startups like 1Mg, Pharmeasy, Netmeds, Medlife among others.
The e-pharmacies have driven sales through omni-channel commerce by either having their own physical stores or tying-up with registered brick and mortar stores. Bengaluru based Medlife recently acquired Myra, a two-hour medicine delivery service whereas another major player, Netmeda had acquired an online doctor consultation app, JustDoc.
Besides, Reliance was also reportedly in talks with Chennai based Netmeds to acquire a controlling stake in the firm.
Apart from the M&As, the e-pharmacies have also added a host of features like doctor consultations, voice assistants, diagnostics among others. Although India doesn’t have a separate law for the e-pharma sector, the draft rules state that the retailers need to have a valid license to be able to sell prescription drugs. The e-pharmacies have driven sales through omni-channel commerce by either having their own physical stores or tying-up with registered brick and mortar stores.