Amazon is talking with generic drug makers about possibly entering the health care market, reports CNBC. Anonymous sources say the company has had “high-level” talks with pharmaceutical company Mylan and the Sandoz division of Novartis, both of which produce large numbers of generic drugs. A note from investment bank Leerink also apparently confirmed the Sandoz meeting. The report says that Amazon’s plans are unclear at this point, although one source said the company talked about potentially purchasing drugs.
Speculation about Amazon’s health care ambitions is nothing new — an earlier CNBC report said it was hiring employees in the space, and it’s obtained pharmaceutical licenses to sell medical equipment, albeit not actual prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical stocks dropped sharply after Amazon announced it was buying the Whole Foods supermarket chain this summer. Pharmaceutical companies have expressed a willingness to work with the company.
But many commentators have noted that health care is a highly regulated and complex market. Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina recently told Forbes that Amazon “will not come in an industry so complicated as our industry,” and that “Amazon is not a retailer. It is a technology company.” In its most recent report, CNBC says that Sandoz doesn’t expect Amazon to have a “major impact” on its business.