Jeff Bezos

  • Amazon could be getting into healthcare, and the company’s reportedly had conversations with generic drugmakers about it, CNBC reports.
  • It’s the latest hint in recent months that Amazon is serious about healthcare. Worry about the prescription drug business being Amazon’d has sent healthcare stocks tumbling, and is even credited with sparking the potential $60 billion+ CVS-Aetna deal.
  • Conversations with generic drugmakers could mean that Amazon is interested in either helping generic drugmakers distribute prescriptions to pharmacies or by selling the generic prescriptions itself.

We just got another hint about Amazon’s ambitions in healthcare.

CNBC reported on Thursday that Amazon has had exploratory talks with the drugmakers Sandoz, the generic drug unit of Novartis, and Mylan.

According to a note from Leerink cited by CNBC, the president of Sandoz “met and discussed with Amazon its plans for getting into the U.S. healthcare market.”

Amazon, Sandoz, and Mylan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Of course, it remains to be seen what an Amazon entry into the prescription drug business would look like. There are a lot of entities involved in the process of delivering and paying for your prescription, from the drugmakers, to insurers, to the pharmacy.

Chatting with generic drugmakers could mean that Amazon is interested in helping generic drugmakers distribute prescriptions to pharmacies (much like wholesalers Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen do today), or by selling the generic prescriptions itself.

Members of the healthcare industry have conflicting opinions on Amazon’s ambitions in healthcare.

“They will not come in an industry so complicated as our industry,” Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Wednesday.

If Amazon does want to enter the pharmaceutical industry, it would have to “buy or to team up,” Pessina said.

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