The retail colossus opened an online pharmacy Tuesday that allows customers to order medication or prescription refills, and have them delivered to their front door in a couple of days.
The potential impact of Amazon’s arrival in the pharmaceutical space rippled through that sector immediately. The stocks of CVS Health Corp., Walgreens and Rite Aid all tumbled Tuesday.
The big chains rely on their pharmacies for a steady flow of shoppers who may also grab a snack or shampoo or groceries on the way out.
All have upped online services and touted their abilities to deliver prescriptions and other goods as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more consumers to stay home. But Amazon.com has mastered these things, and its online store is infinitely larger, with millions of loyal shoppers already buying books, TVs and just about anything else.
“The news represents a disruption to the system and competitive threat that will likely shift scripts away from the retail channel,” analysts at Citi Research said in a note.
Amazon has a history of disruption. Launched in 1995 as an online book store, it pushed other booksellers to sell online. But those that couldn’t keep up went out of business, like the Borders bookstore chain, which disappeared in 2011.
Its purchase of Whole Foods three years ago sent supermarket stocks spiraling, but many have been able to hold their own against Amazon, offering home delivery and curbside pickup of groceries.
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