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House members send letter to FTC criticizing Express Scripts-Medco merger

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A number of members of Congress have raised questions about the proposed merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, prompting a lobbying group that represents independent pharmacies and opposes the merger to highlight the matter.

The National Community Pharmacists Association pointed to a letter sent Monday to the Federal Trade Commission by 14 Democratic and Republican House members expressing misgivings about the $29.1 billion merger and requesting a "full and thorough investigation." Express Scripts and Medco are 2-of-the-3 largest PBMs in the country, and many political and other leaders have expressed concerns about the effect their merger would have on the PBM market. Meanwhile, the two PBMs have defended the deal, saying it would reduce healthcare spending for payers and consumers.

"On its face, the merger demonstrates the potential for a combined entity to demonstrate an already heavily concentrated market," the representatives wrote. "We understand that this combined entity has the potential to control more than 40% of annual prescriptions and more than 80% of private plans. And, if unregulated, would have the ability to raise prices and/or block pass-through pricing for plans and patients — ultimately limiting critical access."

The 14 representatives who signed the letter were Robert Anderholt, R-Ala.; Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.; Joe Bonner, R-Ala.; Mo Brooks, R-Ala.; Judy Chu, D-Calif.; Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y.; Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas; Tom Marino, R-Pa.; Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash.; Mike Rogers, R-Ala.; Martha Roby, R-Ala.; Terri Sewell, D-Ala.; Peter Welch, D-Vt.; and Don Young, R-Alaska.

"The U.S. Congress is clearly taking a much-needed and forceful role in favor of rigorous oversight of the proposed Express Scripts-Medco merger, clouding the once-certain forecasts of the deal’s approval," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "Legislative time is at a premium, so these two hearings represent a major statement of congressional concern over this merger. These developments also demonstrate NCPA’s tireless and coordinated efforts in opposition to the merger."

 


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Concealer sales have nothing to hide

BY Antoinette Alexander

Product innovation and a desire for flawless-looking skin fueled double-digit sales of concealer at food, drug and mass.

Concealer sales rose about 10% to more than $25 million for the 12 weeks ended Sept. 4 at food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to data from SymphonyIRI Group.

Leading the way, according to SymphonyIRI Group, is Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind concealer. In July, the manufacturer broadened its Instant Age Rewind collection and launched the new Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment concealer, which features an anti-aging formula to erase dark circles, puffiness and fine lines.

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Sales show no signs of clumping

BY Antoinette Alexander

Mascara is a beauty essential that very few women will go without. After all, what woman doesn’t want long, lush, sexy lashes? Looking ahead, mascara sales show no signs of clumping.

According to data from SymphonyIRI Group, sales of mascara rose nearly 6% to nearly $600 million at food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4.

Meanwhile, manufacturers continue to innovate and develop new mascaras that take lash length and volume to new heights.

For example, Maybelline New York launched in September its new Great Lash Lots of Lashes mascara, which features a little grabber brush. The heart-shaped elastomer brush is designed to simplify the application process and, in just one swipe, easily reach the inner and outer corners of the eye. The suggested retail price is $6.49.

For spring, Coty’s Rimmel London brand has created its new Volume Flash ScandalEyes Mascara. It is made with a supersized blend featuring triple the collagen and keratin of other mascaras on the market. Plus, the new MaxDensity brush is longer, wider, denser and 50% bigger than Rimmel’s biggest brush. The suggested retail price is $6.99.

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