Online retail giant Amazon has launched an internet pharmacy in India, marking its entry into the country’s online medicine market.
Amazon Pharmacy will make its debut in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and it may be trialled in other Indian cities.
The move comes as the online drugs business has been given a major boost during the coronavirus pandemic.
This year US technology giants have invested billions of dollars in the Indian economy.
The Amazon Pharmacy service offers prescription, over-the-counter and traditional Ayurveda medication as well as basic health devices.
“This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
Amazon started its move into pharmaceutical retailing in 2017. The following year it bought US-based home delivery medications startup PillPack.
At the end of last year, the company introduced its Amazon Pharmacy branding to PillPack’s service.
In January, Amazon filed to trademark the name Amazon Pharmacy in the UK, Australia and Canada.
The move was seen as a sign that the company was set to significantly expand its prescription drugs business outside of the US.
US tech billions
In recent months India has seen billions of dollars of investment by US technology giants.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos pledged to make major investments in India.
Speaking at a company event in New Delhi in January, he said the 21st Century is “going to be the Indian century”.
Amazon has set ambitious plans for expansion in the world’s largest democracy, where it has invested some $6.5bn (£5bn). Like rival US retailer Walmart, it sees major growth potential in the fast-growing economy.
In May, Amazon entered India’s meal delivery business with a trial in four parts of Bengaluru.
Last month, Google became the latest big American player to invest in Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries’ digital business.
The Alphabet-owned search engine agreed to pay $4.5bn for a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms.
Reliance’s billionaire owner Mukesh Ambani said the two companies would develop phones for 4G and 5G networks.
Also in July, Google said it would invest about $10bn in India over the next five to seven year, joining a list of new investors in Jio that includes Facebook, Intel and Qualcomm.