(Reuters) - Shares of drug retailers Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc <WBA.O>, CVS Health Corp <CVS.N> and Rite Aid Corp <RAD.N> tumbled on Friday after reports that Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> was looking to make a move into selling drugs online.
Amazon is reported to be in discussions with mid-market pharmacy benefit managers and has been hiring talent to assess the drug retailing market for its entry, brokerage firm Leerink analyst Ana Gupte wrote in a note to clients.
"We are convinced that AMZN will almost certainly enter the drug distribution value chain within 2 years, evolving into a more disruptive offering over time," Gupte said.
Amazon's entry into pharmaceuticals has been long rumored in the media.
On Friday, CNBC reported that the e-commerce giant would decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online, citing a company email and a source familiar with the matter. (http://cnb.cx/2hTIxvL)
Amazon does not comment on rumors or speculation, a company spokeswoman said.
Shares of drug retailers Walgreens closed down 5.8 percent, Rite Aid 4.9 percent and CVS Health 4.9 percent.
(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)