Tags: Amazon.com | drugs | pharmacy | pharmaceuticals

Drug Wholesalers Slump After Amazon.com Obtains State Licenses

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Thursday, 26 October 2017 04:40 PM

Shares of big drug wholesalers and drugstores slumped after a report that Amazon.com Inc. has received pharmacy-wholesaler licenses in at least 12 states.

McKesson Corp. declined 3.2 percent to $146.52 at 3:23 p.m. in New York, while AmerisourceBergen Corp. shares were down 4.7 percent to $78.32. CVS Health Corp. shares were down 4.3 percent to $72.26 and Express Scripts Holding Co. was down 3.1 percent to $59.26, following the report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Analysts have speculated that Amazon could soon enter the business of selling prescription drugs, threatening to disrupt retail drugstores, drug wholesalers, and the pharmacy-benefits management business. While Amazon has never publicly commented on what its plans may be, earlier this month CNBC reported that the Internet giant could make a decision about selling drugs online by Thanksgiving. The network didn’t name its sources.

Bloomberg News confirmed that Amazon had obtained wholesale-pharmacy licenses in Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, North Dakota, Oregon, Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Connecticut and New Hampshire. An application is pending in Maine. Some of the licenses were obtained late last year.

Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The licenses could be part of Amazon’s business-to-business sales effort, which would include sales to hospitals, doctor’s offices and dentists. Amazon on Tuesday announced “Business Prime Shipping,” which brings the quick delivery associated with Amazon household orders to workplaces. 

The Seattle company launched Amazon Business in 2015, offering tractor parts, latex gloves, file folders and millions of other products needed in factories, hospitals, schools and offices. Businesses are shifting their supply shopping online from less-efficient methods such as browsing print catalogs, faxing orders and telephoning sales representatives.

Online business-to-business sales -- a broad category that includes pens and paper for the office as well as lab equipment and parts used in factories -- will grow to $1.2 trillion in 2021 from $889 billion this year, according to Forrester Research Inc.

On a conference call Thursday with analysts, McKesson CEO John H. Hammergren said the wholesaler doesn’t “take the entry of any competitor lightly,” but said the company already has a large online order operation and similar to what Amazon does logistically. “To some extent, we were Amazon before it was cool to be Amazon.”

© Copyright 2018 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
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Shares of big drug wholesalers and drugstores slumped after a report that Amazon.com Inc. has received pharmacy-wholesaler licenses in at least 12 states.
Amazon.com, drugs, pharmacy, pharmaceuticals
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2017-40-26
Thursday, 26 October 2017 04:40 PM
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