The move, while expected at some point, still hit pharmacy giants CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. hard: Both stocks slumped in early trading Tuesday. Investors are right to be concerned.
The prescription drug market is complex and mail order currently accounts for a minority of filled prescriptions, but Amazon is a logistical behemoth that has relationships with millions. The e-commerce leader poses a severe threat if it can deliver drugs reliably, quickly, and cheaply. Amazon certainly got the timing right. Telemedicine and mail-order drug startups are getting people used to the idea of online health care, and the pandemic is likely to boost demand and encourage new habits as people socially distance.
Even if it takes time for Amazon to pick up steam, it would be foolish for the big pharmacy chains to regard its invasion of their turf as anything but perilous. The move heaps pressure