NCPA Commends Federal Scrutiny of Health Mergers

SEPTEMBER 09, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement regarding today's hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law:

“We commend today’s hearing and other efforts by Congress and federal regulators to conduct a thorough examination of the significant consolidation occurring in the health care marketplace, perhaps most notably the proposed Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers. Associations representing hospitals and physicians have expressed concerns that these health insurance mergers could limit patient choice of providers and potentially raise costs. Policymakers cannot allow the ‘merger mania’ gripping the nation to proceed in a way that harms patients and the community pharmacists who serve them.

“In the past, NCPA has expressed concerns regarding similar proposed mergers of other corporate giants in the health care realm—most notably involving the consolidation of pharmacy benefit management (PBM) corporations. Already independent community pharmacies grapple with one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it contract terms from PBM corporations that hamper patient access and the ability of pharmacists to provide top-notch care. Additional consolidation may exacerbate this problem by increasing the disproportionate leverage health insurers hve over providers. 

“NCPA urges Congress and regulators to be wary of claims by the merging parties that consolidation will necessarily increase efficiencies and drive costs down.  It is essential that any purported merger ‘savings’ are in fact passed along to consumers and not simply added to expanding health insurance corporate coffers.

“NCPA will continue to closely monitor consolidation in the marketplace and take steps to support patient choice and access and the vital role of independent community pharmacists to health care.”