Amazon has launched an online pharmacy in Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state, as the e-commerce group looks to spread its tentacles in more categories in one of its key overseas markets.
The move comes as the online drugs business has been given a major boost during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lockdown and social distancing have prompted customers to move to online consultation, treatment, medical tests and medicine delivery.
Healthcare startups Practo, NetMeds, 1mg, PharmEasy and Medlife are witnessing a huge surge in demand and a spurt in funding activity, similar to edtech platforms, which outperformed all other sectors among startups.
The Amazon Pharmacy service offers prescription, over-the-counter and traditional Ayurveda medication as well as basic health devices.
“This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
Amazon started its move into pharmaceutical retailing in 2017. The following year it bought US-based home delivery medications startup PillPack.
According to RedSeer Consulting, India’s digital health market will expand to $4.5 billion in this financial year, compared with $1.2 billion in FY20.
The consultancy has upped its estimate of the digital health market to $25 billion in FY25, compared with its pre-covid estimate of $19 billion. Medicine delivery will continue to comprise a large majority of the market, according to RedSeer.
Bigger healthcare firms like Practo, 1mg, Medlife, PharmEasy, Netmeds as well as smaller startups like BeatO and mfine are registering increasing user interest and demand post covid, as people spend on boosting their immunity, treat illnesses through online consultations and buy medicines online.