COVID-19 pandemic has proven a boon for the telemedicine and e-pharmacy industry, as medical care is being delivered to each and every household through technology and digital infrastructure. The goals of national growth and Digital India are being fulfilled by e-pharmacy. Patients fill out their prescriptions online under the e-pharmacy format and have medications sent to their doorsteps. The global demand for e-pharmacy, valued at $69.7 billion in 2019, is projected to rise 17 percent year-on-year to $244 billion in 2027, thanks to COVID-19 pandemic. E-pharmacies of India will grow. E-pharmacy is a flourishing market and part of the more organised market for medical services in developed countries such as the US and Europe. To ensure systematic supply, medicines are administered by physicians and monitored by barcoding. The budding e-pharmacies of India on the other hand are yet to fly high in the sky with others because of structure and regulation problems.
Netmeds, EasyMedico and MedLife are some of the market’s well-known brands. Startups like 1 mg, Practo, and Myra dot the segment. Even conventional chemists have launched their e-pharmacy section, such as Apollo Pharmacy.
Some big names such as Amazon and Reliance Retail have attracted promising growth opportunities in the online pharmacy. Reliance Retail acquired a majority stake in start-up Netmeds in August 2020. By integrating with Medlife, PharmEasy also took a step toward consolidation. Amazon, the e-commerce giant, has now launched pharmacy distribution services online. Aimed at improving the country’s digital health environment, the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) would also fuel development in the online pharmacy market.
Another reason for the burgeoning revenue of e-pharmacies is that the government has also softened, claiming that the model will work effectively with the Common Services Centres (CSC) of the Government to enhance access to important rural Indian health facilities. On 24 March, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs explicitly referred to the distribution of drugs via e-commerce as an important service. During the Covid-19 lockout, 19 state governments declared e-pharmacy necessary.
E-pharmacies of India will grow if they are matched with the Indian market ‘s unique dynamics. Companies should synergize new concepts into established business models. There are many ways for the Indian customer to become more important to e-pharmacy.