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UPDATE 1-Drug chains tumble on reports Amazon eyeing their pie

(Recasts to focus on shares; adds details from Leerink report and Amazon comment)

Oct 6 (Reuters) - Shares of drug retailers Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, CVS Health Corp and Rite Aid Corp tumbled on Friday after reports that Amazon.com Inc 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)