Pharmacy retail consists of selling pharmaceutical products. The pharmacy retail market has increased rapidly in the past few years, owing to the growing population and patient pool, and affordability of medicines. Consumers have improved access to medicines because of advanced medical infrastructure, launch of patented drugs. But factors such as low-profit margins, price control measures, and poor inventory management hinder market growth.

Market insights:
In 2020, the pharmacy retail market was valued at INR 1,783.83 Bn and is expected to reach INR 3,078.46 Bn by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of 12.02%. The organized retail pharmacy sector stood at INR 134.21 Bn in the same year and is anticipated to reach INR 370.39 Bn by 2026. The unorganized sector was valued at INR 1548.55 Bn in 2020 and is likely to reach INR 2390.20 Bn by 2026. The revenue of online retail sector stood at INR 38.15 Bn in 2020 and is likely to reach 317.87 Bn in 2026. The online retail channels sector is the fastest growing, owing to the rise in the number of internet users and increase in technological advancements. It was valued at 38.15 Bn in 2020 and is projected to reach 317.87 Bn in 2026, expanding at a CAGR of 44.44%.
Segment insights:

The pharmacy retail market is segmented into organized, unorganized, and online retail based on channels. The unorganized segment comprises local medical shop owners and it held an 88.70% market share in 2021. The organized sector consists of large players licensed to sell drugs and registered for sales and income tax. It had a share of 8.50% in 2021. Online pharmacy retail is an emerging segment with a 2.80% market share. Owing to increase in internet users and technological advancements the online pharmacy retail channels are expected to expand at a CAGR of 44.34% during the 2022 – 2026 period. The pharmacy retail market is also segmented into generic, OTC, and patented drugs based on drug types. Generic drugs have identical chemical composition, dosage effects, side effects, and administration routes such as that of patented original ones. Last year, generic drugs held a market share of 71%. OTC drugs can be sold to customers without a prescription through a medical practitioner. The segment had an 18.18% market share in 2021. The patented drugs were introduced by global drug manufacturers, used in various therapeutic areas such as oncology, anti-infective and cardiac treatment. Last year, patented drugs held a share of 10.82%.

COVID-19 impact analysis:
The onslaught of COVID-19 has caused disruptions in the global supply chains. Pharmaceutical manufacturers in India are highly dependent on China for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and key starting materials (KSM). In 2020, the lockdown in China caused a severe shortage of these APIs and KSMs in India. As a result, several indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers started producing APIs and KSMs to meet the elevated demand in the market. On the other hand, the online pharmacy business got traction, owing to increased adoption of digital platforms. In 2020, the union government launched the production linked incentive scheme (PLI) to provide financial support for the production of COVID-19 vaccines in the country. In the same year, the government also introduced a scheme to establish bulk drug parks to produce APIs, KSMs, and drug intermediates.