Here's another big dose of retail from Reliance. The company's retail prescription for the country includes setting up a network of 4,000 pharmacies across India over the next 3-4 years, beginning January '07.
Reliance Retail, the retail initiative of Reliance Industries, plans to establish this network of pharmacies with a substantial rural presence to provide a gamut of medical services including blood tests, medical insurance, health-related and veterinary consultancy, besides selling medicines across villages and towns, sources said.
When contacted, Reliance Retail executives declined to comment. For its pharma retail venture, the company has already begun enlisting pathologists, doctors and front-end managers, sources added.
Some of these Reliance pharmacies would be housed in rural business hubs that the company plans to set up across the country for storage, transport and processing of agri-produce. Most would be set up next to Reliance stores. It is learnt the pharma retail venture would dovetail with Reliance Life Sciences as the blood samples collected at these pharmacies would be sent for testing to Life Sciences centres.
There are currently 25-30 Reliance Life Sciences centres across the country. There will also be free consultation with doctors on issues like childbirth. The pharmacies will also provide services like vaccination.
It is not just Mukesh Ambani who has plans for the healthcare sector. The Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is armed with plans to set up a chain of hospitals and pharmacies across India. The company is talking to the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists for its pharma retail venture. Former Medicine Shoppe executive director Rajendra Gupta heads the healthcare venture for ADA Group.