ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Lawmakers should oppose the proposed mega-merger of pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, the National Community Pharmacists Association again told Congress members during a House subcommittee hearing held Friday.
“The resulting merger will harm patients by reducing choice, decreasing access to pharmacy services and ultimately leading to higher prescription drug costs paid by plan sponsors and consumers,” the group stated. “As community pharmacists whose primary concern is patient well-being, NCPA fervently opposes the proposed merger and asks Congress to do the same.”
NCPA’s statement reiterated the three chief ways the merger will harm an already dysfunctional system. First, the combined entity would dominate the country’s largest health plan market, including major government programs, leaving those patients and plan sponsors with virtually no ability to “shop around” with alternative vendors. Second, the combined entity would control 52% of the ultra-expensive specialty pharmacy segment — easily the fastest-growing part of pharmacy. Third, the merger would put in one company’s hands nearly 60% of the mail-order pharmacy business — again, leaving patients and clients with greatly reduced competition.