Congressman Cites “Growing Consensus” that Express Scripts-Medco Merger Will Harm Consumers

By Kevin Schweers

Another wave of letters to the Federal Trade Commission means that 67 Members of Congress have now voiced their bipartisan apprehension regarding the proposed mega-merger of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) Express Scripts and Medco. Among the most notable of the letters is one sent by U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgen (R-Ill.) voicing his concern for his patients and pharmacy access in his district.

Rep. Hultgren’s letter notes a “growing consensus” that the merger will have a “negative impact on consumers, impairing choice and potentially increasing costs.”

“While size can bring competitive advantages, I am skeptical of the impact this new company would have,” he writes, citing Express Scripts-Medco’s combined dominance over mail order pharmacy and specialty pharmacy, in particular.

“This union will greatly reduce the number of competitors in this already very narrow field, thus reducing overall competition,” he adds. “Without strong market pressures, I fear prescription prices for consumers – who are already reeling from this long sustained economic downturn – will rise.”

Rep. Hultgren continues, “I am also concerned with the impact this merger may have on community pharmacies that deliver health care services in many of our small towns and cities. During Congressional testimony last year, the CEO of Express Scripts, George Paz, did not attempt to disguise the fact that this merger would result in reducing pharmacy access for Americans across the country.”

NCPA staff, along with independent community pharmacists and others, will continue making the case on Capitol Hill and elsewhere why this merge is a bad deal for patients, payers and pharmacists. Click here to read an update list of Members of Congress who have weighed in with merger concerns.

NCPA, leading consumer advocates and others continue to oppose this merger, which could produce reduced PBM competition, less patient choice among and higher prescription drug costs.

7 Responses to “Congressman Cites “Growing Consensus” that Express Scripts-Medco Merger Will Harm Consumers”

  1. 1 Ktlach March 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    They want a more competitive advantage. So when exactly will they be competitive enough? Monopoly. Stop them.

  2. 2 R.L. (Bob) Crocker, RPh March 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I feel this is one of the most critical issues and most immediate crisis facing our profession. So why hasn’t anyone mounted a grassroots effort to have every pharmacist in the US contact their Congressional representative with an organized response explaining why this will be disastrous? Someone should organize a mass demostration by Pharmacist and their concerned patients to picket congress and the white house in Washington over a period of a couple of days. Folks this is war and we either mobilized and work together or we lose.

    • 3 ncpa1 March 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you for your comment. We share your concerns regarding the proposed merger between Express Scripts and Medco and many community pharmacists have responded to NCPA’s repeated grassroots appeals to oppose it. Thus far, pharmacists generated more than 7,500 emails and countless phone calls to elected officials which have helped generate 68 Congressional letters to the FTC or other entities to express concerns over the proposed merger and its potential effects on independent pharmacies, plan sponsors and patients. Additionally, pharmacy grassroots efforts have helped secure Senate and House hearings.

      While these efforts have produced tangible results, we agree there is much more that needs to be done to educate members of Congress on all the challenges facing independent community pharmacy, including this proposed merger. One way we do this is to encourage members of Congress to visit independent community pharmacies when they are back home to see for themselves the important role they play in the healthcare system and to hear directly from the pharmacists on the day to day challenges they face. Please visit the ESI-Medco page of our website for more information on the activities to date. You can also click here to send an email to your elected officials on the issue. We greatly appreciate your concern and engagement on these issues.

  3. 4 Kathy Elliott March 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I HAVE been communicating with my elected officials. However, it seems that only Independent pharmacists realize the ramifications of this possible merger. The pharmacists that work in the chain stores that I know don’t think, or care, if it affects their business! We would be a real force to reckon with if ALL pharmacists would unite- but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  4. 5 Concerned pharmacist March 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I know this is getting a lot of opposition, but not enough! If you read news about express scripts posted on financial websites, you will see that that Wallstreet is predicting the merger to happen. Why doesn’t APha help or the other pharmacy organizations? I know Walgreens doesn’t want the merger. If this goes through a lot of pharmacists in other sectors will loose their jobs! This could put 100s of pharmacists out of jobs in Memphis because Acrredo(Medco) will relocate to an express scripts pharmacy. There are a lot of hidden dangers within this merger.

  5. 6 Jim N March 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    If this DOESN’T go through A LOT of Mecdo employees stand to lose their jobs…. They have already been warned!

  1. 1 Congressman pharmacist | Seeyou2004 Trackback on August 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm

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