Amazon Forays Into India’s Fledgling Online Pharmacy Market
A man purchases medicines at a pharmacy in the Lajpat Nagar area of New Delhi, India (Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)

Amazon Forays Into India’s Fledgling Online Pharmacy Market

The world’s largest e-tailer has started selling medicines online in India as it eyes a larger share in the world’s fastest growing market for e-commerce.

Amazon.com Inc.’s online pharmacy, Amazon Pharmacy, has been rolled out in Bengaluru at present, and allows customers to order home medical supplies, prescription medication, supplements, ayurvedic medicines and healthcare devices, among others, according to its website. Customers will have to upload the medical prescription before placing orders.

The move is set to pit the retail giant against the likes of PharmEasy, Medlife and NetMeds—dedicated e-commerce platforms that are fighting for a slice of the market which, according to Frost & Sullivan, is expected to touch $3.7 billion by 2022.

Amazon’s foray comes months after it entered the food delivery market in India, suggesting an aggressive push to grab a large chunk of online commerce in Asia’s third-largest economy. The American retail giant now sells everything from groceries, electronics, apparel, food and medicines.

This also comes at a time when online ordering and delivery of medicines has increased following the Covid-19 outbreak as customers stay at home and follow social distancing norms. E-pharmacies saw an explosive rise in the number of first-time buyers and even initially struggled to meet the demand.

Screen grab of Amazon.in’s website
Screen grab of Amazon.in’s website

“We’re launching Amazon Pharmacy in Bengaluru allowing customers to order from certified sellers,” an Amazon India spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement. “This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home.”

To be sure, ease and deep discounts have already fueled the growth of online pharmacies in India. There are as many as 245 e-pharmacy startups in the country, according to Tracxn, which tracks startups. Amazon is already offering a discount of flat 50% on all orders on its pharmacy platform.

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