International online retail giant Amazon has launched an internet pharmacy in India, marking its entry into its online medicine market in 2020. Amazon Pharmacy will make its debut in Bangalore, and it may be trialed in other Indian cities after the initial phase of the launch.
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The move comes as the online drug business has been given a significant boost during the coronavirus pandemic. This year US technology giants have invested billions of dollars in the Indian economy. The Amazon Pharmacy service offers prescription, over-the-counter, traditional Ayurveda medication, and primary health care service. “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.
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Amazon started its growth into pharmaceutical retailing in 2017. The following year it bought US-based home delivery medications startup PillPack. At the fall of last year, the company introduced its Amazon Pharmacy branding to PillPack’s service. During January, Amazon filed to trademark the name Amazon Pharmacy in the UK, Australia and Canada.
The move was seen as a sign that the company was set to significantly expand its prescription drugs business outside of the US. In recent weeks India has seen billions of dollars of investment by US technology giants in the Indian healthcare industry. Amazon’s chief executive and founder, Jeff Bezos offers to make major investments in India. Speaking at a company event in New Delhi in January 2020, he said the 21st Century is “going to be the Indian century”.
Amazon has set ambitious plans for expansion in the world’s largest democracy, where it has invested some $6.5bn (£5bn). Walmart also made its move in one of the largest populated countries recently. The existing online companies already started protesting against the amazon surge in the health care sector of India.