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.