Amazon on Friday said that it will launch an online pharmacy in Bengaluru. Amazon Pharmacy will allow customers in the city to order prescription-based and over-the-counter medicines, “basic health devices”, and Ayurveda medication from “certified sellers”. Entrackr was the first to report the story. Amazon will be up against platforms such as NetMeds, Dunzo, 1mg, and Medlife.
The company did not specify when the service will go live. It is also not known if Amazon will expand this service to other parts of the country, but the Entrackr report did say that the service is also available in Howrah and some select cities of West Bengal. We have reached out to Amazon for details. The company had also launched food delivery in some parts of Bengaluru in May.
The government is yet to finalise e-pharmacy rules, and cases across High Courts in the country are seeking to regulate e-pharmacy platforms. The government had released draft amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in August 2018, which proposed, among other things, that online pharmacies have to register with the Central Licensing Authority (CLA) to operate. The draft amendments also prohibit e-pharmacies from advertising any drug on any media platform.
In December 2018, the Delhi High Court had placed an interim ban the online sale of medicines and directed the Delhi government, among others, to implement the order. The order was passed in response to a petition which argued that the medicines were being sold without regulation, and that the sale of medicines online increased the risk of spurious drugs being sold. The Madras High Court had also placed a similar ban, but later vacated the order.