“That’s all anybody wants to talk about – I think myself, every sell-side shop has put out something with their thoughts around this,” said Gill. “We would not be surprised if they get into mail order pharmacy around prescriptions.”
Gill is managing director of U.S. healthcare technology at JPMorgan, where she’s been a member of the health care team since 1998. Her coverage includes health care distribution, pharmacy benefit managers and drug retail. Prior to her work at JPMorgan, she was part of an audit group specializing in health care facilities at Ernst & Young.
And while she told CNBC she wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon enter the health care space, Gill argued that its impact on traditional retailers may not be what most expect.
“A pharmacist has to oversee the facility; when they pour the pills into the cylinder to fill the prescription, only a pharmacy tech can do that,” she explained. “So that’s a different type of workforce, a much more expensive workforce because they’re pharmacy techs and pharmacists.”
Amazon, which regularly sends fears racing through the retail space, has specialized in delivering consumer products both at reduced prices and with fast delivery. But health care’s comparatively strict regulation may be too burdensome for the e-commerce giant to make a meaningful impact.
Drugs, unlike most goods Amazon sells, cannot be shipped together with other products.
“Wal-Mart got into this business with a $4 generic back in 2006, took a lot of market cap out of the drug retailers at that point like Amazon is doing today,” Gill added. “They ultimately got into mail order in 2007-2008 and had 4,000 locations to pick up a prescription, but yet we don’t really think of them as being that disruptive.”
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