Amazon to launch online drug sales in Bengaluru to enhance reach

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc said on Friday it will launch an online pharmacy in India that will serve the city of Bengaluru, the latest move by the e-commerce giant to widen its reach in a key growth market.

The service, "Amazon Pharmacy", will offer both over-the-counter and prescription-based drugs, basic health devices and traditional Indian herbal medicines, the company said in a statement, without giving a timeline for the launch.

The move comes amid increasing competition in India with rivals Walmart-owned Flipkart, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's upstart online grocery service JioMart and a range of other smaller players.

Last month, the company decided to open 10 new warehouses in India and start offering auto insurance. Amazon had also secured clearance for alcohol delivery in one Indian state, Reuters reported in June.

India is yet to finalize regulations for online drug sales, or e-pharmacies, but the growth of several online sellers such as Medlife, Netmeds, Temasek-backed PharmEasy and Sequoia Capital-backed 1mg has threatened traditional drug stores.

The companies have said they comply with all Indian laws even as many trader groups continue to protest against e-pharmacies, saying that would lead to sale of medicines without proper verification.

"Amazon's customer base is very high, so we are bound to lose business. There are 5 million families dependent on this (offline) trade," Yash Aggarwal, legal head of South Chemists and Distributors Association in New Delhi, said on Friday.

The group will raise objections against Amazon's move with the government, he said.

 

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru and Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Arun Koyyur)


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel