As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) nears a decision on the mega-merger between PBM giants Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, the opposition grows louder and more insistent that the deal should be rejected. Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW (PCPAN) hopes the FTC commissioners responsible for this decision are listening to the business groups, community pharmacists, health care providers, state attorneys general and legislators at the local, state and federal level who are demanding that they stop this merger in its tracks.
A Reuters article this week dives into the skepticism from these groups nationwide about the merger and further notes that the FTC has been reluctant recently to approve similar mergers in other industries.
From the Reuters coverage:
“A Medco-Express Scripts merger would create an industry leader with nearly one-third of the market. The FTC has been working actively to prevent increases in health care costs. The FTC in late January sued to block Omnicare’s $441 million bid to buy rival PharMerica Corp. Omnicare and PharMerica are the top two companies in the long-term pharmacy services sector, and the FTC said the combination would harm competition and allow Omnicare to raise the price of drugs for the frailest of the elderly. More broadly, the U.S. government has taken an aggressive stance against mergers within the top tier of an industry. The U.S. Justice Department sued last year to stop AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of discount rival T-Mobile USA. It also successfully blocked H&R Block, the largest U.S. tax preparer, from acquiring TaxACT software maker 2SS Holdings Inc … A source familiar with the deal said that key people at the FTC believe it should be stopped but want to ensure they have adequate evidence to win a court fight to stop it. A decision on whether or not to sue is expected by the end of February or early in March, the source said.”