New Delhi: Mumbai-based drug maker Cipla has clarified that it has “no plans” to venture into e-pharmacy, looking to pacify a powerful lobby of over 8.5 lakh chemist outlets that threatened to boycott the company’s products.
“We understand that there are some unconfirmed media reports in the market related to Cipla partnering with an e-pharmacy company. We wish to emphasise that these media reports are unsubstantiated and there is no truth in the matter,” Cipla told the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) in an emailed statement Friday.
Earlier this week, the AIOCD said it was planning to sideline and stop promoting products manufactured by India’s third largest pharmaceuticals company after learning about its reported tie-up with online pharmacy chain, Medlife.
In its email, Cipla told AIOCD that it values the role of offline chemists.
“We have always stood for provision of accessible and affordable healthcare, improve ease of doing business and formulate policies that aid the domestic pharmaceutical industry. In this journey of ours, our channel partners have played a pivotal role in our efforts to provide quality medicines to the patients.”
AIOCD general secretary Rajiv Singhal confirmed to ThePrint that the lobby has received the email.
“As per the clarification sent by Cipla in the mail to us, the company is not entering in any partnership with online pharmacy,” he said.
ThePrint reached Cipla for comment on its email to the lobby but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
In a report earlier this month, The Times of India said Cipla was in talks to invest over Rs 150 crore in Bengaluru-based Medlife, which sells medicines online and offers lab tests and medical consultations.
The move would have been the first investment by a major pharmaceutical company in an e-pharmacy firm.
However, such a partnership raised fears of damage to the business of brick and mortar stores, as manufacturers can directly reach consumers through online platforms — eliminating the need of offline retailers and distributors.
“If the company could sell directly to the customer through online channels, what would we do? With such moves, companies will become the retailer and our business will be completely wiped out,” Singhal had told ThePrint Tuesday.