Battle of billionaires: Mukesh Ambani's Reliance and Jeff Bezos's Amazon set to clash on e-pharma
The next big battle of billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Jeff Bezos is set to be on the e-pharma front. According to a report in the Live Mint, both the companies are looking to diversify into the e-pharma segment. Amazon India launched 'Amazon Pharmacy' in Bengaluru last week and will conduct a pilot in other cities. Reliance Retail, through its SMART Point outlets, plans to scale up its grocery and pharmacy platforms. The report said that Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), through its biotechnology subsidiary, Reliance Life Sciences, is already in the process of setting up pathology labs through local partnerships.
"E-pharmacies is a large market and the retail segment is a fragmented one. However, the market is now ripe for consolidation; thus, large retailers like Amazon and Reliance are keen on this market," the CEO of an Indian e-pharmacy firm was quoted as saying. The CEO said more retailers are waiting to join the sector amid government focus on healthcare and schemes like Ayushman Bharat, and National Digital Health Mission.
Amazon Pharmacy will offer both over-the-counter and prescription-based drugs, basic health devices and traditional Indian herbal medicines, Amazon said in a statement. In it March quarter analyst presentation, RIL said that retail will scale up rapidly led by new commerce and pharmacy platform.
AMAZON ONLINE PHARMACY IN BENGALURU
- In a bid to expand to more categories, Amazon launched an online pharmacy in Bengaluru. Amazon said its new service 'Amazon Pharmacy' started accepting orders for both over-the-counter and prescription-based medicines in Bengaluru.
- Amazon Pharmacy is also selling traditional herbal medicines and some health devices such as glucose meters, nebulizers and handheld massagers.
- Back in 2018, Amazon acquired online pharmacy startup PillPack for nearly $1 billion.
RELIANCE'S PLANS FOR E-PHARMA
According to a report in ET, Reliance is expected to announce the acquisition of Chennai-based e-pharmacy startup Netmeds for an estimated $120 million.
"Like what took place in the horizontal e-commerce space where Flipkart and Amazon came out as winners while others fell by the wayside the same will take place in the online pharms space. Reliance's entry will give a difficult time to the other players," an investment banker told ET.