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Amazon's missed deadline sparks pharma speculation

Providers, insurers are among those closely watching for signs of online giant getting into pharmaceutical business.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Rumors have swirled that Amazon wants to get into the pharmaceutical business.

The speculation only increased after Amazon missed a deadline to complete a pharmaceutical distribution application in Maine.

On June 27, Amazon filed three applications for wholesale distributor licenses at three locations, according to Anne Head, commissioner of Maine's Department of Professional & Financial Regulation. 

[Also: CVS Health to acquire Aetna for $69 billion]

But the applications did not contain all of the required information. Amazon was notified that if the required information was not submitted by mid-November, the applications would be placed in "canceled" status, Head said.  

When no additional information was submitted by the deadline, the three applications were canceled.

Analysts have speculated that Amazon wanted the licenses for medical device and supply distribution, as it has requested in other states, according to CNBC.

[Also: Aetna, CVS merger sparks talk of Humana eyeing deal with Walmart]

But in Maine, Amazon needs no license to sell wholesale medical supplies, only for drugs. 

Earlier this month, Investor's Business Daily was among those reporting that Amazon was in preliminary talks with generic drugmakers Mylan and Novartis, sending the stock for at least Mylan up 3.3 percent. 

The analyst consensus is that Amazon somehow messed up by either not originally realizing it needed no application to sell wholesale medical supplies, or it failed to meet a deadline for a license to sell pharmaceuticals.

The online giant isn't commenting.

Everyone is paying attention because of the chunk Amazon would take out of the business.

Walmart is reportedly considering a deal with Humana to counter the threat posed by Amazon, and also CVS Health's $69 billion move to buy Aetna.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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