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Nationwide Coalition Issues 'Call To Action' To Stop Express Scripts/Medco Merger

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition today issued a call to action to protect hard-working Americans from increased costs and decreased access to quality health care by stopping the planned merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., two pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies. The call to action, posted on the coalition's website, outlines the negative impact of approving the merger and calls on consumers to sign a petition that will be sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Members of Congress opposing the merger. In addition, consumers are encouraged to send letters or make phone calls to their local representatives urging them to oppose it. Consumers can initiate these actions from the PCPAN website.

"Approving this merger – combining two of the nation's largest PBM companies into a big, consolidated PBM with excessive control over the health care of tens of millions of Americans – would put quality care even further from reach of a general population already struggling. Such an outcome cannot be taken lightly," said former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton, chairwoman for the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition. "Americans cannot afford, now or ever, to have their health care costs and access to pharmacy services dictated by a mega-PBM that puts profits before people."

PBM companies, which serve as middlemen between corporations or insurance companies and patients already have a powerful and unfair advantage when it comes to setting prescription-medicine prices and reimbursement rates for community-based pharmacies. The merger between two of these middlemen, which could go into effect as soon as early 2012, would create a mega Pharmacy Benefit Management company with excessive control over the healthcare of tens-of-millions of Americans. The result would be limited access to and choice of pharmacies and increased costs for prescription medications. It could also create an un-welcomed and dangerous precedent for health care and pharmacy access.

"Not all mergers are bad, but there is a reason that this particular one is the target of much scrutiny," said Dennis Archer, chief legal counsel for the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition. "The merger between Express Scripts and Medco would create a mega pharmacy benefit management company with excessive control and concentrated market share that could have serious implications for consumers and for U.S. health care in general. It should not be allowed to move forward."

Those who want to answer the coalition's call to action can visit the coalition website, to sign a petition that will be sent to the FTC and Members of Congress and find contact information to call or write their local representatives to urge them to support patient care and oppose the merger.

Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! is a coalition of consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists from across the country that have come together for the purpose of opposing the planned merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. PCPAN is a project of Pharmacy Choice and Access Now.

SOURCE Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN)
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