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Walgreens CFO Unfazed By Amazon’s Pharmacy Entry

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James Kehoe, Walgreens‘ chief financial officer, said he doesn’t think Amazon‘s push into the online pharmacy world is cause for concern, Bloomberg reported.

Speaking at the Wolfe Healthcare Conference on Thursday (Nov. 19), Kehoe wasn’t fussed about the dramatic shock to the stock market once Amazon debuted the service. Amazon’s move into the digital pharmacy space came Tuesday (Nov. 17), along with Prime member discounts. That caused shares in Walgreens, CVS, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson to drop, along with other brands, Bloomberg reported.

Amazon’s push includes two-day delivery and lets customers use their smartphones to store medical information and manage medications and refills, PYMNTS reported. Medications will be sold at discounted rates for customers who pay without insurance, with brand medications priced 40 percent off and generics priced 80 percent off. Customers also have a database of 50,000 participating drugstores to choose from.

TJ Parker, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, said the company’s goal is to make a “inject transparency into the market” so customers know exactly what their options are, according to the PYMNTS report.

Kehoe reminded attendees that mail accounts for 10 percent of prescriptions filled in the U.S., with most people fiercely loyal to physical drug stores for their pharmaceutical needs, Bloomberg reported.

“When you want to get your COVID vaccination, are you going to call Amazon or are you going to call Walgreens or CVS?” Kehoe said, according to Bloomberg, going on to question if parents of a sick child would be content waiting for medical supplies to come in the mail for potentially several days.

He said the market’s response to the news is “disappointing,” and Bloomberg noted that Walgreens’ shares have fallen 15 percent since Monday’s close and 37 percent this year overall.

Meanwhile, Co-Chief Operating Officer Alex Gourlay touted Walgreens’ newly redone mobile app and its new feature to let consumers shop online and pick up items in stores quickly thereafter, Bloomberg reported.

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