Technology giant Amazon recently launched an online pharmacy in India, establishing itself as a part of the country’s medicine market. The pharmacy will make its debut in Bangalore, and may be tested in other cities. The decision comes as a result of the online drug business becoming vital during the pandemic.
The e-pharmacy service offers prescription, over-the-counter, and traditional medication as well as essential health devices. This is of significant importance as “it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home” (Amazon Spokesperson).
Amazon first moved into pharmaceutical retailing in 2017. The next year it bought PillPack, a U.S.-based home delivery medication startup. Last year, the company introduced Amazon Pharmacy branding to PillPack’s service. In January, Amazon began the process of trademarking the name Amazon Pharmacy in the UK, Australia, and Canada. The decision was viewed as a sign that the company was determined to expand the prescription drugs business outside of the United States.
In recent months, U.S. technology multinationals have reported on investing billions of dollars in the Indian economy. Earlier this year, Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos promised to make significant investments in India. In fact, at a company event in New Delhi in January, Bezos stated that the 21st Century is “going to be the Indian century.”
This promise has since been put into motion. As of now, Amazon has invested around $6.5 billions. In May, Amazon also entered India’s meal delivery business with a trial in Bangalore. Last month, Google became the latest American tech giant to invest in India when it agreed to invest in Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries’ digital business. The Alphabet-owned business agreed to pay $4.5 bn for a 7.7% share in Jio Platforms. The owner of Reliance Mukesh Ambani stated that the two companies would work together to develop phones for 4G and 5G networks. In July, Google declared it would invest around $10 bn in India over the next 5 to 7 years, becoming part of the new list of inversions in Jio including Facebook, Intel, and Qualcomm.