Shares of generic drug manufacturers rose Friday following a report Amazon.com Inc. has held conversations with Mylan NV and Sandoz, a Novartis AG unit, about potentially entering the pharmacy market.
Meanwhile, drugstores, pharmacy-benefit managers, and distributors are seeing their stocks fall amid concerns that Amazon will provide new competition and disrupt their business models.
CNBC reported late Thursday that the Mylan and Sandoz have engaged in “high level” talks and added that it is still unclear what Amazon’s AMZN, pharmacy ambitions are.
“This means that Amazon may be simultaneously exploring either opening a retail pharmacy or drug distribution business,” analyst Brian Nowak at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note to clients.
He said the next potential signposts to watch for are Amazon opening a pharmacy inside a Whole Foods Market store and a filing for pharmacy and drug licenses.
Mylan’s MYL, stock shot up 4.4% to a three-week closing high, while Novartis’ NVS, shares edged up 0.3%.
Among others in the generic drug business, shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries TEVA, hiked up 3.0% and Endo International ENDP, rallied 1.4%.
Among drugstore chains, shares of Rite Aid Corp. RAD, slumped 4.5%, Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA, shed 1.8% and CVS Health Corp. CVS, dropped 1.9%.
Shares of distributors were mostly lower, as McKesson Corp. MCK, was down 0.9% and Cardinal Health Inc. CAH, gave up 0.5%, while Amerisource Bergen Corp. ABC, erased early losses to close up 0.2%.
Pharmacy-benefit manager Express Scripts ESRX, is considered by some to be a potential partner for Amazon, but its stock fell 1.2%.
“The economics around generic drugs are unique within the supply chain and might make them more attractive for Amazon than trying to sell other brand or specialty drugs where prices are set and then negotiated by pharmacy-benefit managers,” wrote Needham analyst Kevin Caliendo in a note to clients. He added that Amazon “still likely will need to acquire a mail order pharmacy or small pharmacy benefit manager to get the licenses needed to distribute and/or dispense drugs on a state-by-state basis.”
Amazon’s stock fell 1.2% Friday. It was still up 55% so far in 2017, compared with an 18 % gain for the S&P 500 index SPX.