Walmart-owned Flipkart is looking to enter the e-pharmacy space as online medicine delivery remains in demand. This development comes as rival Amazon said that it will launch an online pharmacy in India. Flipkart is building its own team for the e-pharmacy business. It has already held early stage talks for partnership with PharmEasy.
Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy has held multiple rounds of talks with PharmEasy that is in advanced discussions to acquire Bengaluru-based rival Medlife. According to a report in Times of India, the homegrown giant wants to be sure of the legal framework before rolling out the services. There are still ambiguities when it comes to the legal side of selling medicine online.
While the discussions are underway, Flipkart has also not ruled out a potential investment. A Flipkart spokesperson, however, said that they are not in talks with any e-pharma player with an investment view. Meanwhile, PharmEasy co-founder Dhaval Shah said that as part of the industry they "keep talking to everyone".
Amazon, on Friday, had stated that through the Amazon Pharmacy service, it would offer over-the-counter and prescription-based drugs, basic health devices and traditional Indian herbal medicines. After Amazon's announcement, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) wrote a letter to founder Jeff Bezos stating that the launch is illegal.
On the other hand, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is eyeing a deal with Netmeds. The announcement of the acquisition is yet to be made. The deal is estimated to be around $120 million.
The Indian e-pharma industry is estimated to be around $1.2 billion, as mentioned in a February report by RedSeer. It is expected to reach up to $16 billion in five years.