Blogs: The Reinvented Pharmacist

Express Scripts-Medco Merger: What Now?

Published Online: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Express Scripts Inc. (ESRX), the largest US pharmacy benefits manager, received regulatory approval for its $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions Inc. (MHS)—a deal that may drive down costs for the company and consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission approved the purchase by a 3-1 vote. Clearance was unconditional, with the commissioners saying their 8-month review of the deal found “a competitive market for pharmacy benefit management services.”
So what are we to make of this decision? Community pharmacy made a strong effort to keep the merger from happening. Now that the FTC has ruled, what should pharmacy do?
Is it time to start focusing on providing face-to-face pharmacy services instead of focusing on drug distribution as the main revenue stream for community pharmacy? If pharmacy had put as much effort on delivering these services and getting paid for them would the profession be better off today? I think so. What do you think?
To read more of our coverage of the merger, click here.
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Info
This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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