Amazon’s move in India’s online pharma space faces flak

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New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Amazon has faced criticism from different quarters including an industry body and officials of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an influential offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for its move to enter into the medicine delivery business in India.
The e-commerce giant last week announced the start of a trial of the service, Amazon Pharmacy, in Bengaluru.
The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), which claims to represent more than 850,000 members across the country has demanded that the government should immediately stop these “illegal online pharmacies”.
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch joined AIOCD in making similar demands.
“We at @swadeshimanch have long been saying that foreign funded epharmacies are illegal. Now #Amazon is trying to barge into this, which again is illegal. Despite HC court orders, govts have failed to act…,” Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convener, SJM, said in a tweet this week.
The Amazon Pharmacy offers both over-the-counter medicines and prescription-based drugs.
Some Ayurvedic medicines and several healthcare devices like oximeter and digital blood pressure monitors are also available at the store.
Following the launch of the online store, AIOCD drafted a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice President and Country Manager, Amazon India.
“We are writing to you as we came to know that www.amazon.com has decided to enter Online Pharmacy’ space, probably oblivious to the fact that the E-Pharmacies are illegal and not recognised by the laws under Drug & Cosmetic Act & Rules there under,” reads the letter dated August 14.
“This space has been marred by extreme controversies, court cases and legal issues in the last few years.”
Amazon is not the first to launch an online drug store in India. There are already a few companies doing business in this space, but many players have struggled due to lack of clear regulations, according to a CNBC report on Monday.
Amazon did not comment on the report.

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