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July 19, 2019

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OTC drugs now come via a machine

Sinopharm Online Healthcare Co Ltd has joined with Alibaba’s on-demand fresh food and grocery platform Freshippo to dispense over-the-counter drugs through vending machines.

The first batch of Sinopharm’s self-service vending machines are now available at Freshippo outlets in Shanghai and the two companies said they expect to get regulatory approval for machines in Shenzhen soon.

The distribution and selling of medicines are strictly licensed. Sinopharm said it hopes to seek new business models with retailers such as Freshippo. Payment would go directly to Sinopharm under supervision of the industry watchdog.

Nearly 120 types of over-the-counter drugs are available at the vending machines, covering common symptoms such as headaches, coughing and muscle aches, and customers can also place an order using Freshippo’s smartphone app.

Wang Letian, general manager of Sinopharm Online Healthcare Co, said that the companies hope to trial new methods that can better satisfy consumer demand when the medicine is needed urgently.


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