Walmart-owned homegrown ecommerce platform Flipkart has reportedly partnered with epharmacy startups 1mg to facilitate the sale of medicines online through its platform. With this, the users can order prescription medicines, book doctor consultations and lab tests within Flipkart.
The development comes a few days after Flipkart expanded its allopathy and homeopathy offerings in a bid to offer more healthcare services and over-the-counter drugs to its customer base. The platform will offer a wide range of homeopathy, allopathy, and other wellness products, starting at only INR 49.
A quick scan of the platform highlights listings of hair care products, immunity boosters, mental wellness and general wellness products, skincare products and more. Commenting on the same, the company’s spokesperson said, “As consumers increasingly look for preventive care in the wake of the pandemic, it was a natural step for us to scale up our portfolio and launch products across categories such as immunity boosters, respiratory care, diabetic care, digestive care and cardiac care, among others.”
The spokesperson told ET that the company has been constantly working towards ramping up our offerings in this space and currently host more than 8,000 products under this portfolio.
According to an Economic Times report published last month, Flipkart was in talks to forge a partnership with epharmacy startup PharmEasy to start its online medicine delivery service. Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy had also held multiple rounds of discussions with PharmEasy’s founding team led by Dharmil Sheth.
Meanwhile, PharmEasy has rival epharmacy startup Medlife have been eyeing a merger at a unicorn valuation, and has received Competition Commission of India (CCI) approval for it. The deal will see API Holdings, the parent entity of PharmEasy, acquire 100% equity shares of Medlife, filings with the CCI show. Medlife’s promoters will in return get a 19.95% stake in the combined entity.
While these two startups aim for a merger, Reliance Retail has acquired another epharmacies startup Netmeds for $83 Mn. Even Flipkart’s rival Amazon launched its online pharmacy service named ‘Amazon Pharmacy’. The online pharmacy will be piloted in Bengaluru first and will be expanded to other cities later.
However, the brick-and-mortar pharmacy association like South Chemist and Distributors Association (SCDA) and All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) have been enthusiastic about the consolidation of the epharmacy market. The SCDC wrote to CCI calling Medlife and PharmEasy merger illegal under Indian law.
Meanwhile, AIOCD has written to Flipkart CEO Krishnamurthy and Walmart CEO Dough McMillion saying the 1mg and Flipkart partnership is illegal. Last month, it had also written to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling out the launch of Amazon’s epharmacy business as “illegal”.
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