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India’s Pharmacists Call For Shutdown Of Amazon Entry

August 17, 2020 at 09:21PM

A group that says it represents 850,000 pharmacists in India wants the government to shut down Amazon’s new pharmaceutical delivery service in the country.

In a letter, as reported by various media outlets in India, the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists argues that laws from the 1940s prohibit the sort of home delivery operation that Amazon is piloting in India.

The letter is addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other government officials in the country. According to published reports, it states, among other things: “We have also given you enough evidence above to prove our point. We also have a full dossier ready on this subject and entering this space can bring on legal implications which can bring disrepute to Amazon’s name.”

TechCrunch quoted an Amazon spokesman as saying upon the launch of the online pharmacy: “This is particularly relevant in present times, as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

Amazon Pharmacy launched in Bengaluru, India last week.

The legal framework surrounding Amazon’s move is complicated by the general muddy state of drugstore regulation in India. For years, pharmacists have complained about confusion around what is allowed as small operations have launched. The opposition to Amazon’s entry appears to be less than unified, however, as some commentators have argued that the pharmacists’ trade group doesn’t speak for all Indian consumers.

Often referred to by Westerners as Bangalore, the city has a population of about 12 million, and sometimes is called “the Silicon Valley of India.”

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