It's been a busy couple of days for Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) . The e-commerce juggernaut just introduced new Amazon Echo products and now analysts are talking about the company entering the pharmacy space.
Amazon hasn't been shy about disruption. Its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market could be a game-changer in food distribution. Blending Amazon's e-commerce know-how with the roots of a bricks-and-mortar setup could create a lethal one-two punch for others in the sector. It's got Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) , Target Corp. (TGT) , Kroger Co. (KR) and others on high alert.
The grocery market is ripe for disruption, which is why Bernstein analyst Lance Wilkes said he believes Amazon will enter the retail pharmacy market next. The market is large, which makes it an attractive target, and it could use a big dose of innovation. That's where Amazon would come into play. Wilkes has argued that the addressable market could be nearly $300 billion. Thanks to Amazon's strong brand and user interface, it shouldn't have too many issues gaining traction. He estimated that 70% of prescriptions are headed online as well, and Amazon should benefit as customers know it for its convenience.
While Wilkes said Amazon was well-positioned to address the issues in the pharmacy market, it will likely need to partner with or acquire a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in order to "drive volume growth." The obvious concern for non-Amazon investors is the impact it will have on the sector. Should it choose to enter, one would imagine this to be bad news for CVS Health Corp. (CVS) , Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) , Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) and even Realty Income Corp. (O) , the REIT landlord to many of these companies.
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Just a few months ago, Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina said he doesn't think Amazon will make the move into the pharmacy market. If it does though, Walgreens can compete, he contended.
While Bernstein seems confident on Amazon's entrance, other analysts are focused on the company too. Analysts at JPMorgan reiterated their market outperform rating and assigned a $1,125 price target on the stock following its new products introduction. Lower prices should help drive higher adoption, they reasoned.
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