And it has. Flipkart is now in a deal with the e-pharma company 1MG and the latter’s app is now inside Flipkart’s Android app. Flipkart users can now order medicines, book doctor consultations and lab tests, thanks to 1MG which already offers these services.
These are offered along with hair and skin care products, immunity boosters, mental wellness and general wellness medicines.
A spokesperson for Flipkart was quoted in the Economic Times as saying, “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”.
Medical shops are less than happy
The entry of heavyweighted companies shows how lucrative the online pharma business is now. It is a happening time for the segment as online ordering and delivery of medicines has increased following the Covid-19 outbreak as customers stay at home and follow social distancing norms. According to one research, this market segment is expected to touch $3.7 billion by 2022.
However, the brick and mortar medical shops as a collective are trying to stall the emergence of e-pharma outlets. The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has shot off a mail to Flipkart CEO Krishnamurthy and Walmart CEO Dough McMillion saying the 1mg and Flipkart partnership is illegal. earlier, it wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling out the launch of Amazon’s e-pharmacy business as “illegal”.
“We are forced to write to you as we discovered that Flipkart, which is owned by Walmart Inc, USA has partnered with an e-pharmacy by the name of 1MG.COM to sell ‘Prescription Medicines’ on its platform. This partnership is against the laws in our country,” AIOCD’s in its letter to McMillon and Krishnamurthy said.
Funds for Flipkart to take on competition
As the retail e-commerce business intensifies — Reliance Retail is getting big ticket investments, and Amazon India got $308.02 million from its parent company — Flipkart is also getting itself ready for the big fight. the holding company Walmart has invested $560 million in Flipkart, as part of its $1.2 billion round announced in July. Qatar Investment Authority’s subsidiary INQ Holdings also invested $8.14 million as part of the round.
China’s Tencent has also put in $62.8 million into the e-commerce company. Flipkart is expected to go public internationally in a few months time.