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Nationwide Coalition Urges FTC to Take Notice of Growing Opposition to Mega-PBM Merger

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition today urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to heed the call of a growing number of Americans asking for increased scrutiny of the planned merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., two pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies.  This comes as the FTC continues its review of the merger to determine whether the deal complies with anti-trust law.  

In the months since the merger was announced, questions have been raised by elected officials, attorneys general in dozens of states, pharmacy service providers, consumer advocates, patient groups and others about its impact on the industry and, ultimately, consumers.  Noteworthy opponents include a bipartisan group of 14 House Members that wrote to the FTC requesting, a "full and thorough investigation" of the merger and questioning whether  a combined entity would  raise prices and limit critical access to care, and a coalition of 25 state attorneys general who hope to increase pressure on the FTC to scrutinize the merger.  

Others who have spoken out against the merger include the Small Business Association, the Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, U.S. PIRG, the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices, the Utah Pharmacists Association, Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, Independent Specialty Pharmacy Coalition, the Food Marketing Institute, Center for American Progress Action Fund, numerous local community pharmacists and others.  

"There is a reason that this particular merger is the target of so much scrutiny," said former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton, chairwoman of 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.  Not only is this not in the best interest of consumers, it also raises some serious anti-trust concerns.  It should not be allowed to move forward."

Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. are already two of the nation's largest PBMs.  An approved merger would give the consolidated PBM control over much of the supply line of brand-name and generic drugs, especially in markets where the PBMs are already highly concentrated.  This would result in higher costs for prescription medications that would need to be absorbed by employer health care plans and patients.  It would also result in decreased access to local community pharmacies that provide convenient and helpful services.

"Americans – particularly those in minority and lower-income communities – continue to be in a very vulnerable state as we all struggle to recover from the recent financial crisis," Clayton continued.  "Approving a merger between Express Scripts and Medco that would lead to higher prices for lesser quality care will only make things harder.  I sincerely hope that the commissioners consider this and all of the questions and concerns being raised about the merger.  And in the end, I hope that they will oppose it."

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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