- Amazon has canceled a pharmaceutical wholesaler application in Maine, RBC analysts pointed out in a research note Tuesday.
- The Maine Board of Pharmacy website shows the cancellation occurring Dec. 1. It is important to note, however, that companies have previously canceled licenses and then filed for a different type of license with the state.
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in late October that Amazon had gained approval from at least a dozen state pharmacy boards to become a wholesale distributor.
Amazon told other state regulators last month it does not intend to sell drugs, and pharmaceutical wholesaler state filings alone would not allow them to do so. Instead, they permit the company to distribute medical devices, supplies or drugs from its warehouses.
Maine, though, has slightly different regulations that fueled the speculation Amazon may be looking to dive into the drug supply chain. The state does not require a medical device license to sell medical supplies, so some analysts said that filing could indicate Amazon’s interest wasn't in devices alone.
RBC analysts said the canceling of the Maine license brings down the likelihood that Amazon will enter the pharmacy business, which they said is “a positive for the pharmacies and drug supply chain.”
Amazon hasn't commented on this latest news or given any detail about what future — if any — it is planning in healthcare. But particularly with this week’s news of CVS acquiring Aetna in a $69 billion deal, the healthcare industry is watching for more vertical integration that includes organizations selling drugs.
Analysts have kept a close eye on Amazon and Apple, which have been identified as potentially major disruptors for the industry. Rumors about Amazon are still just speculation, but pharmaceuticals would be a natural path for the e-commerce giant if it does want to gain a footprint in the healthcare space.