Nationwide Coalition Opposes Express Scripts/Medco Merger

Local Groups Join Coalition And Ask FTC, Congress To Support Patient Care Over Corporate Profits

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition today announced its official launch coinciding with efforts aimed at protecting patient care by stopping a merger between two of the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies, Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc.  PCPAN will bring together consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists from across the country in an effort to help inform consumers, policymakers and others about risks associated with the planned merger that could go into effect as soon as early 2012.  Local groups including the PA Pharmacists Association and the PA Breast Cancer Coalition serve as members of the nationwide coalition.  

PBM companies, which serve as middlemen between corporations or insurance companies and patients already wield a one-sided advantage in setting prescription medicine contract and reimbursement terms for community-based pharmacies.  The planned merger would create a consolidated PBM with excessive control over the health care of tens of millions of Americans, putting patient well-being and access to pharmacy services at risk.  Therefore, PCPAN is against the merger and will publicly advocate against it.  

"With a growing population competing for access to limited resources, patients face enough challenges today in terms of receiving equal and affordable access to quality health care -- this is particularly true for lower-income and minority Americans," said former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton, who is serving as Chair for the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition.  "Combining two of the largest PBMs would put quality care even further from reach by raising prices and standing in the way of a patient's access to their trusted community pharmacist.  This simply is not in the best interests of patients, employers or health care in America, and I hope that the Federal Trade Commission and Congress will consider the potential impact and stand up for patients by opposing the merger."

The consolidated PBM that would result from a successful merger would control a large share of the supply line of brand-name and generic drugs, especially in markets where the PBMs are already highly concentrated, thereby raising the prices of prescription medications and leaving employer health care plans and patients with few remedies outside of absorbing the cost increases.  This could create an un-welcomed and dangerous precedent for health care and pharmacy access.

"If approved, the Express Scripts/Medco merger will have a devastating effect on community pharmacies.  This merger is just another step towards establishing a monopoly and having one entity being in control of most prescriptions in this country, something we historically know eliminates competition and drives up prices," said Adam Welch, PharmD, PPA President.

Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) is a project of the Pharmacy Choice and Access NOW! (PCAN) coalition and is aimed at protecting patient care and pharmacy access by stopping the planned merger.  Throughout the merger review process, PCPAN will continue to build its membership of concerned groups and individuals.  Through the coalition website, www.preservingcommunitypharmacy.com, those who want to take action can sign a petition that will be sent to the FTC and Members of Congress and find contact information to call or write their elected officials to urge them to support patient care and oppose the merger.

Click here to hear former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton discuss the negative impact of an approved merger.

Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! is a coalition of consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists from across the country that have come together for the purpose of opposing the planned merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc.  PCPAN is a project of Pharmacy Choice and Access Now.

SOURCE Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW!

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