We might have just got a big hint that Amazon's not going to start selling drugs

  • Amazon’s application for a pharmaceutical wholesaler licence in Maine has been canceled.
  • The cancellation could have big implications for Amazon’s potential ambitions in healthcare.
  • “We see this cancellation as a negative indicator of the likelihood that Amazon enters pharmacy in the near term and thus as a positive for the pharmacies and drug supply chain,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets wrote in a note.

Amazon’s applications for wholesale pharmacy licenses in the state of Maine have been canceled.

The cancellation, which Business Insider first spotted in a note from RBC Capital Markets and confirmed via the Maine Board of Pharmacy’s website, occurred on December 1 and could have big implications for Amazon’s potential ambitions in healthcare.

In October, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported that Amazon has been approved for wholesale pharmacy licenses for at least 12 states. Amazon’s Maine licenses were pending at that time.

According to the Maine Board of Pharmacy, a licence that’s been canceled has been done so by an “administrative agency order.” Had Amazon decided itself not to pursue the licence, it would have been labelled “withdrawn/terminated by licensee.”

The licenses don’t necessarily indicate that Amazon is going to start to sell prescription drugs. In many cases, wholesale pharmacy licenses are needed to sell things like medical supplies, something Amazon already sells to businesses.

But because in Maine, a medical device licence wasn’t needed to sell medical supplies, RBC analysts George Hill and Stephen Hagan considered it “a strong leading indicator of whether or not Amazon would enter the drug supply chain.”

“We see this cancellation as a negative indicator of the likelihood that Amazon enters pharmacy in the near term and thus as a positive for the pharmacies and drug supply chain,” they wrote.

Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment.

Speculation that Amazon could be getting into the prescription drug industry has been popping up for months.CNBC reported in May that Amazon is seriously considering entering the pharmacy business, leading to speculation about what that might look like. Healthcare companies, which could see their industry change if Amazon does get into it, have been taking the tech giant very seriously.

This story has been updated.

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