November 30, 2017 / 1:10 PM / in 15 days

Express Scripts CEO sees Amazon as a potential partner: CNBC

(Reuters) - Express Scripts Holding ESRX.O sees Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O, which has been reported to be interested in entering the pharmacy market, as a possible partner rather than a competitor, the chief executive of the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) said on Thursday on CNBC.

FILE PHOTO - The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France on February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Express Scripts, the biggest PBM in the United States, and drug distributors have been under pressure by the speculated entry of Amazon into the prescription drug market.

"What (Amazon) will see is the magic isn't in lower net prices to consumers," CEO Tim Wentworth said. "It's getting the right drug to consumers and helping them navigate the system." (cnb.cx/2nlcc3w)

Wentworth was speaking to CNBC at the Forbes Healthcare Summit conference in New York. He made similar comments last month to analysts.

Last month, Express Scripts said it would “stand well” against any possible competition from Amazon in the pharmacy benefit management business, but added that the company would be a “natural collaborator” for the ecommerce giant.

PBMs negotiate drug benefits for health insurance plans and employers, and have in recent years taken an increasingly aggressive stance in price negotiations with drugmakers.

They often extract discounts and after-market rebates from drugmakers in exchange for including their medicines in PBM formularies with low co-payments.

Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Savio D'Souza

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