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Express Scripts: Another Potential Amazon Victim?

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Express Scripts: Another Potential Amazon Victim?

Rumors that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) may soon be jumping into the pharmacy business have weighed on drug retailers Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA) and CVS Health Corp (NYSE: CVS). However, pharmacy benefit managers, which serve as middlemen between insurers and pharmaceutical companies, may be hit the hardest by new competition from Amazon.

This week, a new batch of media rumors suggesting Amazon could enter the drug business sooner than expected has Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ: ESRX) trading near its lowest levels in more than four years. Express Scripts is the largest PBM in the country, and some traders and analysts believe it could soon be steamrolled by Amazon.

Reports this week indicate Amazon could officially announce entry into the drug business before Thanksgiving, sending shares of Express Scripts down 5.0 percent Monday and another 1.8 percent in early Tuesday trading.

Leerink analyst Ana Gupte says the Amazon implications for Express Scripts are still up in the air at this point. In a research note last week, Gupte said Amazon could be a positive or a negative for Express Scripts depending on the approach it decides to take. If Amazon decides to take the Whole Foods route to enter the PBM market, Express Scripts is the most likely target for a buyout. If not, it could be the most exposed to Amazon’s self-built business.

Just days later, Bernstein analyst Lance Wilkes said he does not see Express Scripts as a likely buyout target for Amazon.

In the meantime, as the uncertainty continues, technical traders will be watching $57.80, the stock’s four-year low set earlier this year, for possible support. Below $57.80, the next technical support level may not come until around $50, where Express found support twice way back in 2012.

Joel Elconin contributed to this report.

Related Link: Amazon Could Partner With UnitedHealth For Pharmacy Unit By Thanksgiving

Latest Ratings for ESRX

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2018Leerink SwannMaintainsMarket PerformMarket Perform
Nov 2018BarclaysMaintainsEqual-WeightEqual-Weight
Sep 2018Credit SuisseDowngradesOutperformNeutral

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