Flipkart launches Health + vertical: But it has its work cut out for it

Last year, Flipkart made a tentative entry into the lucrative but highly competitive e-healthcare and pharmaceutical space. He made some sort of deal with the 1 mg online pharmaceutical company. But it was a short-lived partnership as the company was later taken over by Tata, which is slowly but surely making its presence felt in e-commerce.

But undeterred, Flipkart is now taking new steps in the healthcare industry with the launch of Flipkart Health +. As part of this development, it has signed agreements to acquire a controlling stake in Sastasundar Marketplace Limited, which owns and operates SastaSundar.com, an online pharmacy and digital healthcare platform. It has a network of more than 490 pharmacies.

Starting with e-pharmacy, Flipkart said, it would add new health services such as electronic diagnostics and electronic consultation over time.

But it’s not going to be easy for Flipkart

“Flipkart Health + will leverage the combined strengths of the Flipkart Group, which includes its pan-Indian reach and technological capabilities, with SastaSundar’s deep expertise to provide consumers with end-to-end offerings in the healthcare technology ecosystem.” , the company said in a statement. declaration.

Ravi Iyer, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Development, Flipkart, said: “With growing awareness and increased attention to health heightened by the pandemic, there is a great opportunity and demand for healthcare. affordable health and ancillary offers. ”

SastaSundar was founded in 2013 by BL Mittal and Ravi Kant Sharma. With its model of personalized application of technology and its network of pharmacies, it has made inroads into the competitive market. SastaSundar is backed by investors like Mitsubishi Corporation and Rohto Pharmaceuticals.

But Flipkart Health + must prepare for stiff competition. Its big rival Amazon is already in the business. The same goes for Indian titan Reliance, which has a connection to Netmeds. And then there is also the online biggie PharmEasy.

The good news is that India’s e-health sector has the potential to hit $ 16 billion in 2025, according to a report by RedSeer Consulting. It is expected to reach 57 million households.

The downside, however, is the fact that the medical brick and mortar stores as a collective are trying to block the emergence of e-pharma outlets. The Indian Organization of Chemists and Pharmacists (AIOCD) is doing everything to slow the emergence of electronic pharmacies. The association even qualifies the operations of e-pharmacies as “illegal”.

All eyes are on the government to work on e-pharmacy regulation.

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