H-E-B’s Wiesner Speaks Out Against PBM Merger

WASHINGTON — Dennis Wiesner, senior director of privacy, pharmacy and government for H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, testified before a House panel here Tuesday looking into the proposed merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco.

WASHINGTON — Dennis Wiesner, senior director of privacy, pharmacy and government for H.E. Butt Grocery Co. [2], San Antonio, testified before a House panel [3] here Tuesday looking into the proposed merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco.

Wiesner, a member of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, told the panel he has “grave concerns” about the proposed merger. He outlined the negative impact such a merger would have on retail pharmacy, health care costs and overall patient care.

Among some of his concerns were: reducing or eliminating patient choice and access to pharmacies; the ability to dictate one-sided, unfavorable contract terms to pharmacies, health plans and employers; and the overall lack of transparency in drug costs and payments to pharmacies.

“If approved, nearly 135 million Americans would rely on this mega PBM to manage their prescription benefits,” said Wiesner. He noted that the Federal Trade Commission has issued a rare “second request” to examine the proposed merger more closely, and urged for thorough scrutiny of the magnitude of control that the proposed new PBM would exert over various markets and sub-markets.