CNBC reported Monday that the online retailer Amazon has “shelved a plan to sell drugs to hospitals” citing “complexities around selling in bulk to large hospitals and building a logistics network to handle pharma delivery.”
Amazon is bailing on selling prescription drugs due to complexities associated with the drug supply chain? I don’t know if it’s true, but the statement illustrates just how complex the U.S. pharmacy reimbursement and distribution system is for even the smartest companies. Amazon bails and you think you can manage pharmacy benefits efficiently by reading a blog post or watching a webinar or two? Don’t kid yourself.
But it’s not like CVS and Walgreens didn’t warn of the complexities of getting into the business of selling and processing prescription drugs, particularly specialty prescriptions shipped to hospitals and clinics. “There are many barriers to entry when you’re looking at pharmacy,” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said in August of last year during a call with analysts.