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Reliance buys majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds for $83 million

Reuters/Bengaluru
Filed on August 19, 2020
Reliance, Netmeds, online pharmac,  Medlife, Netme, Vitalic Health Pvt

(Photo: Reuters)

The oil-to-telecoms conglomerate said its investment represents about 60% holding in Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. and 100% direct ownership of its subsidiaries.

Reliance Industries Ltd has acquired a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds for about 6.2 billion rupees ($83.08 million) in cash, days after e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc launched an online drug sales service in India.

The oil-to-telecoms conglomerate said late on Tuesday its investment represents about 60 per cent holding in Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. and 100 per cent direct ownership of its subsidiaries.

Vitalic and its subsidiaries, collectively known as Netmeds, were incorporated in 2015. Netmeds is a licensed e-pharma portal that offers authenticated prescription and over the counter (OTC) medicine along with other health products in India.

The Covid-19 crisis, which spurred a wave of online shopping, has led to increased competition between Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart, Reliance's upstart online grocery service, JioMart and a range of other smaller players for a share in the world's second most populous country.

India is yet to finalise regulations for online drug sales, or e-pharmacies, but growth of online sellers such as Medlife, Netmeds, Temasek-backed PharmEasy and Sequoia Capital-backed 1mg has threatened traditional drug stores.

Many trader groups are against e-pharmacies, saying they would lead to sale of medicines without proper verification.


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