NCPA CEO issues statement on Express Scripts-Medco merger at pharmacy coalition press conference

WASHINGTON — At a press conference organized by the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! coalition at the Capitol on Thursday morning, the National Community Pharmacists Association's CEO Douglas Hoey issued a statement regarding the proposed merger of pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, saying the deal could mean "more wasteful mail-order spending and higher price spikes for specialty drugs."

"Quite simply, the windfall profits of major PBMs have soared and everyone else has been paying the price," Hoey said. "The marriage of Express Scripts and Medco would give one corporation control of nearly 60% of the mail-order pharmacy market and 52% of the specialty pharmacy market. It could mean more wasteful mail-order spending and higher price spikes for specialty drugs. The already limited pharmacy management options for the largest health plans, including the federal government, will grow further captive to the major PBMs.

"Currently 42 out of the Fortune 50 largest U.S. employers use the ‘Big Three’ — Express Scripts, Medco or CVS Caremark. It is safe to say that if the merger is green-lighted, the remaining two companies would face little, if any, resistance to raising costs, reducing choice and otherwise putting their own interests ahead of those of employers, patients and others," Hoey said.

Hoey also added that the "unchecked, virtually unregulated growth" among PBMs should prompt Congress to pass legislation — particularly, the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011 (S. 1058/ H.R. 1971), and the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act (H.R. 1946) — to boost patients' choice of pharmacy.

On hand at the PCPA NOW! press conference were Reps. Joe Courtney, D-Conn.; Thomas Marino, R-Pa.; and Eva Clayton (retired), who also serves as PCPA NOW! chairwoman; Dennis Archer, PCPAN chief legal counsel; and Mike Brandt, owner of Globe Drug and Medical Equipment.

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