Amazon Business not selling drugs, but other Amazon groups might

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An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC, “As we’ve developed Amazon Business, we’ve used our working-backwards methodology for consumers and applied it to the needs of business customers and sellers. One of the ways we do this is convening advisory boards from across the industry to give us feedback so we can continue innovating on behalf of customers.”

The health care supply chain is well-entrenched and will be hard to break into, according to one expert. “The hospital and health care systems have entangling alliances with their existing purchasing and supply chain partners,” said Tom Cassels, head of strategy and business development at Leidos Health. “It’s very difficult to replicate the Amazon buying experience in healthcare,” he said.

For now, the sweet spot for Amazon Business in health care is smaller practices, such as dental offices, freestanding ambulatory surgery centers and small physician practices, where the licensed providers appreciate the convenience and affordability.

Even then, several of the physicians interviewed by CNBC said they were sticking with their existing distributor for most supplies, but relying on Amazon for some items, or in emergencies.

Amazon told CNBC that it serves health practices of all sizes: “Amazon Business serves healthcare customers of all sizes, from large IDNs [integrated delivery networks, meaning systems that provide both medical services and a health insurance plan to patients] to small- and medium-sized community hospitals. We also serve customers from physician and dental offices to senior living and long-term care facilities.”

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