The international e-tailer giant has entered into online medicine market though Amazon Pharmacy. The online drug store has been rolled out in the Bangalore region only. Sooner or later, it will get fully operational in the rest of the cities India. One can place an order for over-the-counter and prescription medicines to be delivered at home. The internet retail giant’s move comes close to the heels of US tech firms investing billions of dollars in India.
Amazon has jumped into the online medicine delivery operations with e-Pharmacy kicking off from Bengaluru. Depending upon the response, the Pharmacy will roll out to other cities as well. The website says that orders can be placed for both over the counter and prescription medication. It includes supplements, ayurvedic (herbal) medicines, and healthcare devices as well. Customers opting for prescription-based medication will need to upload the medical prescription before placing orders.
“We’re launching Amazon Pharmacy in Bengaluru allowing customers to order from certified sellers. This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,” confirmed an Amazon India spokesperson.
The decision to launch digital delivery of Pharmacy orders could not have been better timed by Amazon. The demand for e-pharmacy has increased manifolds due to COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with BBC, Amazon spokesperson said, “is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home”.
e-Pharmacy will be pitted against the likes of pharmacy goods related e-commerce platforms such as PharmEasy, Medlife, NetMeds, and 1mg. Amazon’s entry might trigger government to formalize regulatory guidelines. With Amazon offering almost 50% initial discounts to attract buyers on its site, Ministry of Commerce and Industry will have to investigate predatory pricing and deep discount offers. Government will also have to safeguard the local Pharmacy stores since the move will also kill competition from conventional chemists.
Amazon had shown interest in e-pharmacy in 2017 when it had acquired US-based online pharma startup, PillPack. But it was only last year that Amazon formally launched ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ branding to PillPack’s service. Industry pundits attributed the change in oritentation to Amazon’s plans to launch its over the counter drugs business outside the US region.