Global e-commerce giant Amazon has rolled out an online pharmacy service in India on Friday.
The service beginning with information technology hub Bengaluru as part of its efforts to ramp up operations in a country it sees as a major emerging market.
Customers in Bengaluru would be able to order prescription-based drugs in addition to over-the-counter medicines, basic health devices, and Ayurveda or traditional medicine products from certified sellers, a spokesman for Amazon India said.
“This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,’’ the spokesman said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic, which is still spreading at a rapid pace in India, saw a nationwide lockdown for weeks beginning at the end of March. Lockdowns currently continue in highly affected areas.
The lockdown and social distancing norms have seen a jump in online sales by e-pharmacies with several online pharmacies reporting growth in sales, according to business news portal moneycontrol.com.
Even before the pandemic, sector analysts forecast rapid growth for e-pharmaceutical players, with growing internet connectivity and the use of smartphones.
E-pharmacies were expected to attain a combined market size of 2.7 billion dollars in India in 2023 from about 360 million dollars in 2019, according to a report by global consultancy EY.
During a visit to India in January, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said his company would invest one billion dollars in India over the next five years.
“I predict the 21st century is going to be the Indian century,’’ Bezos said at a company event in New Delhi.