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Nationwide Coalition Opposes Express Scripts/Medco Merger Group Asks FTC, Congress To Support Patient Care Over Corporate Profits

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition today announced its opposition to the proposed merger between two of the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies, Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. The coalition of consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists from across the country will inform policymakers, the public and the media about the impact of an approved merger on consumers.

PBM companies, which serve as middlemen between corporations or insurance companies and patients already have a powerful and unfair advantage when it comes to setting prescription-medicine prices and reimbursement rates for community-based pharmacies. The merger between two of these middlemen, which could go into effect as soon as early 2012, would create a mega Pharmacy Benefit Management company with excessive control over the healthcare of tens-of-millions of Americans. This would limit our access to and choice of pharmacies.

"With a growing population competing for access to limited resources, Americans face enough challenges – including 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, Chairwoman for the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition. "Creating a giant health care system middleman by combining Express Scripts and Medco will hurt quality, raise prices and limit access to our trusted community pharmacists. This simply is not in the best interests of patients, employers or healthcare in America, and I hope that Congress and the Administration will stand up for American patients and oppose the merger."

The merger mega-PBM would control much of the supply line of brand-name and generic drugs, especially in markets where the PBMs are already highly concentrated. This would result in higher costs for prescription medications that would need to be absorbed by employer health care plans and patients. It could also create an un-welcomed and dangerous precedent for health care and pharmacy access.

"This proposed merger is not in the best interest of consumers and raises some serious anti-trust concerns," said Dennis Archer, the Coalition's Chief Legal Counsel. "The merger between Express Scripts and MEDCO would create a mega Pharmacy Benefit Management company with excessive control and concentrated market share. I am very concerned about the legal precedent this merger would set."

"All Americans deserve to have affordable access to quality health care, and that certainly applies to America's seniors that are facing declining health and increasing health care costs – in many cases, on a fixed income," said Thair Phillips, president of RetireSafe, a grassroots organization that advocates and educates on behalf of America's seniors and is a member of PCPAN. "Unfortunately, an approved merger would put an additional burden on this population – as well as other already underserved populations – by pushing access further from reach. This could have devastating effects."

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! (PCPAN)



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http://www.preservingcommunitypharmacy.com

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