ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Community pharmacy organizations — National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association — formerly sent the U.S. Trade Commission a letter Aug. 4 opposing the proposed merger of pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions on anti-competitive grounds.
The $29.1 billion Express Scripts acquisition of rival Medco was announced on July 21.
“Our opposition stems from the fact that the merger would result in a substantial reduction of competition in already highly concentrated markets, including those involving PBM services, as well as mail-order distribution services and specialty pharmaceutical services,” the letter stated.
Prior to the announced merger deal, Medco had lost several major contracts that went to rival CVS Caremark Corp. And, as previously reported, Walgreens, Deerfield, Ill., said in June it would drop out of the Express Scripts network in 2012, due in part to unacceptable reimbursement rates. Walgreens represents about $5.3 billion in annual Express Script sales.
Industry analysts estimate the merger between the second and third largest PBMs would results in about a 30% share of prescription volume. CVS Caremark Corp would hold about a 20% share.