Amazon Japan, one of Japan’s most famous online retailers, has begun the online selling of over-the-counter drugs which includes medicine for colds, digestive medicines, as well as vitamin supplements and other low-risk pharmaceutical products. This move by Amazon Japan happened after Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration lifted the ban on the online selling of drugs in June as part of the country’s economic growth policy.
As Amazon Japan is structured where only retail partners can sell on the website, some of them have already been observed selling cold drugs and other medicines designated as “category 2” and “category 3″ drugs, both tiers regarded as low-risk. But the online retailing website has made it known that it is actually considering selling “category 1” drugs directly in the future, including those deemed to have a higher risk of side effects. At the same time, a group in Japan’s Ministry of Health is compiling new rules for conducting online sales of drugs and medicines. They are also encouraging these online retailers to compile and retain their customer contact lists, for security purposes.
Amazon Japan is already an addition to a number of firms who have taken their medical and drug sales online. Big Japanese drugstores such as Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co., Welcia Holdings Co. and Sundrug Co. have all started online sales of their products. Even partner retailers on Rakuten Inc.’s online shopping mall site – the biggest domestic online store in Japan – also are selling drugs. Big retail players such as Aeon Co. and Bic Camera Inc. are also getting in on the act.