Alibaba and JD.com start selling prescription drugs on the net

Over ten thousand drugs requiring medical prescription by law are now available on Alibaba and JD.com without any need for prescription. The two companies have gained access to the high-margin drugs business by simply putting sellers in contact with customers–this way, they stay within a gray area  for legislation. These leading e-commerce sites have decided to enter the on-line medicine market because it is growing at a 50% pa rate in China and is expected to reach $12bn in 2020–a considerable portion in the total volume of China’s pharmaceutical business. Importantly, Alibaba last month acquired 14.5% of Guizhou Ensure–an on line pharmacy–for mb421m ($61m).

(Source: FT)