- Reliance Industries buys majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds
- The company paid $ 83 million or around Rs 620 crore for the stake
- The move from Reliance comes days after Amazon launched its online drug services in India
Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has acquired a majority stake in India’s online pharmacy firm Netmeds for $ 83.08 million or close to Rs 620 crore in cash. The move from Reliance Industries came in days after the e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc launched its online drug service in the country.
The oil to telecommunications conglomerate said that its investment in the online pharmacy represents about 60% holding in Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. which owns 100% of its direct subsidiaries.
Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. and its subsidiaries, together known as Netmeds, were established back in 2015 and the firm is a licensed e-pharma portal which offers authenticated prescriptions and Over The Counter (OTC) medicines in addition to the several other health products in India.
The novel Coronavirus crisis, which has spurred a wave of online shopping in the country, has led to an increase in the competition between Amazon, Flipkart which is owned by Walmart, Reliance’s new start-up online grocery store called JioMart and several other smaller players for a share in the world’s second most populated country.
India is yet to pen down the regulations for the online drug sales which are also called e-pharmacies, however, the growth of these online sellers including Netmeds, Medlife, 1mg which has been backed by Sequoia Capital, and PharmEary which has been backed by Temasek has all threatened the traditional brick-and-mortar drug stores.
In India, many trader groups are now against the e-pharmacies claiming that they could lead to the sale of medicines without proper verifications.